Do deer avoid some areas?

Do deer avoid some areas?

At Whiterock Station, two distinct paddock areas were avoided by breeding hinds over calving and lactation (Fig 9), possibly due to them-

  • being very steep (>26o hill slope);
  • containing very dense vegetation dominated by tall-tussocks, speargrass, bracken, and large matagouri bushes, acting as a physical barrier to entry;
  • lacking palatable plant species; and/or
  • being distant from water sources.

The effective grazing area of a paddock, which excludes any large paddock areas likely to be avoided by deer, should be taken into account when selecting deer stocking rates. The use of certain paddock areas can also be encouraged by placing essential resources, such as water troughs, in them.

  Whiterock areas avoided by hinds in summer and autumn

Figure 9: Areas of the Whiterock Station study paddock not used by breeding hinds over summer and autumn.

Hinds may be forced to use normally avoided areas when resources are scarce. Hinds set-stocked in winter at close to double the stocking-rate used during calving and lactation (summer/autumn) inhabited almost all available habitats, including areas previously avoided (Fig 10).

 Whiterock areas ordinarily avoided in winter

 Figure 10: Areas of the Whiterock Station study paddock not used by breeding hinds in winter before they were given access to a high quality feed source in the form of a kale forage crop.