Deer Carrying Capacity Question(s)

Discussion in 'Indiana Whitetail Hunting' started by Scott Werstler, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. What is the maximum or optimum acres per deer in regards to carrying capacity in Indiana. Granted, open farm land will be less than southern Indiana so lets assume its broken farm ground with wetlands and woodlots. To be more specific, 75% fields, 25% brush and woods. Typical Noble County habitat.

    I hope the degreed biologists who frequent this site can help me here. I noticed none tried on my Deer Browse thread that quickly died on the vine. That site only offered ideas from armchair deer biologists.
  2. Scott,

    I suspect there won't be anything on the Whitetail Stewards site that's specific to Indiana, but you might find some general information that would be helpful.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2006

  3. Scott -

    Do you mean maximum or optimum, they are two very different figures. The optimum situation for recruitment (fawn production) is when the herd is kept at about 65% of the carrying capacity (K). This is the level that will produce the maximum, healthy huntable population the next year. If you go above that percentage body weight and antler size will start to diminish and fawn recruitment will drop (meaning does will start having single fawns instead of twins or triplets). If you go below 65%, which is done on many fenced trophy operations, you will maximize antler size and body wieght but because you are establishing a smaller population there will be lower numbers of total fawn production which translates to a lower huntable population the next fall.

    If you are looking for the ideal deer per square mile figure it may be hard to come by since every area is going to be slightly different. The best way to determine your current density is by photo census with trail cams. If you need information on that PM me.
  4. Well, it depends on how much Chicory is being utilized by the resident deer.....