Winter diet of the red deer (Cervus elaphus) in a lowland broadleaved forest

Picard, J.-Francois; Gegout, J.-Claude

Gibier Faune Sauvage 9(JUNE): 127-136

1992


ISSN/ISBN: 0761-9243
Accession: 009736584

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Abstract
The stomach contents of 30 red deer Cervus elaphus stags and hinds, shot between January 10 and February 14, 1986, were analyzed to assess the changes occurring the diet of these animals in response to snowfall and when the snow cover persists. The present study shows a brutal change in food habits: when the snow starts to fall and in the absence of forest fruits, the animals eat Gramineae and Cyperaceae, bramble (Rubus sp.), ivy (Hedera helix), dead leaves and twigs. If the snow cover persist, the proportion of twigs increases markedly (probably overestimated by the method of analysis), as well as the proportions of conifers (although sparse in the forest), rape Brassica napus (very likely underestimated) and maize (Zea mays).