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Title: The management and dispersion of a red deer population in Glen Dye, Kincardeneshire
Author: Staines, Brian W.
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1971
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This thesis describes a three year field study of a red deer stock on glen Dye estate in North-east Scotland. The general aim was to relate the ecology of the deer to their management. The fertility of hinds was high, and puberty - at 14 months - was earlier than has generally been found in Scotland. There was a 29 - 44 loss of foetuses or calves from mid-pregnancy till two months post partum, mainly in hinds breeding for the first time. Despite this high reproductive rate, the stock decreased by 65 since 1961, and data from 1965 suggest that this was due to shooting. The reason why the deer were heavily culled - on and off Glen Dye - is that many deer left the estate in winter and conflicted with other land interests there, mainly forestry and agriculture. I studied several environmental factors that may have been associated with this seasonal change in dispersion. There was no evidence of any differences in the species or chemical composition of the food from deer shot on Glen Dye than from deer shot on those areas outside the estate where they had gone in winter. Grasses were important foods throughout the year and forced the largest part of the rumen contents in summer. Heather was the most important species (in terms of quantity) in winter. An experiment was devised to relate the proportions of heather in the food to those found in the rumen contents. There was no difference between the proportions (dry weight) of heather in the food and in the rumen, or between the proportions of heather found in the rumen after different periods of rumination. The proportions of heather in the rumen differed significantly between two individual deer on the same diet, particularly at the higher intakes of heather. There was no evidence that disturbance from shooting, or the effects of other animals, wore associated with the changes in dispersion of the deer between summer and winter. Areas that the deer occupied in winter were more sheltered from wind (the main weather component affecting sheltering behaviour in winter) than areas they had left. The occupied areas were also near accessible low ground which the deer favoured in times of snow. However, the deer's traditional home range behaviour dictated to which of these sheltered areas they went in winter. Recommendations for deer management have been made, based on this field study; they involve the reopening of sheltered, mature woodlands that were previous wintering areas for the deer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available