Why is this important?
Migratory deer populations are an important indicator of overall
forest and wildlife health. Deer herd populations can be very dynamic.
Fawns depend upon healthy forests for food and shelter. Thus, trends
in the health and population of these common animals can be indicators
of problems in forest and wildlife systems.
As herbivores, the herds affect vegetation while also serving as
a prey base for predators. Higher numbers of deer can change the
forest by eating too many young trees, and lower numbers of deer
can lead to a build-up of shrubs that can carry wildfire.
This migratory Stanislaus Deer Herd is managed by California Department
of Fish and Game in partnership with Stanislaus National Forest.
This research is part of the data collected for wildlife management.
In addition to natural predators and legal hunting, numbers of
deer are also reduced by vehicle collisions.
What is the measure?
The migratory Stanislaus Deer Herd spring and fall population’s
ratio of fawns per 100 does is measured. The chart shows winter
survival rates in fawns born in early summer.
How are we doing?
The relative stability of fawn populations in
the graph suggests that the habitat is somewhat constant and therefore
provides an indication that our forests are healthy.