Effects of a Special Technique for Right-Of-Way Maintenance on Deer Habitat
W. C. Bramble, W. R. Byrnes, and R. J. Hutnik
Abstract: White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginiana) habitat and use were evaluated on an electric transmission right-ofway (ROW) before and after 5 different herbicide treatments and handcutting were applied using a special technique. Eval uations also were made in the adjoining forest. The technique used for all treatments provided for division of the ROW into a central wire zone and two border zones. Selective treatment of only tall-growing trees was carried out on the border zones; as contrasted with complete treatment of all trees and tall shrubs in the wire zone. In addition, a special broadcast application was given to the wire zone in the case of the herbicide pellet treatment to produce a herb-grass plant cover. Although appreciable changes occurred in specific deer habitat factors, decreases in certain factors were offset by increases in other factors. As a consequence, total habitat values remained high. Deer presence increased on all ROW treatment areas from 1982 to 1984. Deer browsed both woody and herbaceous vegetation comparably on the ROW and in the forest. The utilization factor, percent cover x percent browsed, was higher for woody vegetation in the forest and for herbaceous vegetation on the ROW.
Keywords: Deer; Herbicide Maintenance; Herbicides; Right-of-Way