Food habits of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) vary widely within the geographical range of the species. Variations are related to differences in ecological types, plant associations, land use, and density of deer populations. These variations often occur within the borders of a single state. Proper deer management requires that a balance be maintained between food supply and deer numbers, and this can be accomplished only when the preferred and most-used foods for local areas are known. The objective of this study was to ascertain the principal foods of Missouri deer, state-wide and by regions, as a basis for management. Incidental objectives were to determine the importance of cultivated crops in the diet of Missouri deer and to find what plant species could be used as indicators of range carrying capacity.

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