Adaptive Management of Coues White-Tailed Deer in Durango, Mexico: Is the Combined Production of Deer and Cattle Feasible?
Due to the possible depletion in the deer population, a research program concerning Coues white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus couesi) was initiated in 1987 in La Michilia Biosphere Reserve, Durango, Mexico (420 km2). In order to determine the possible causes of the depletion, intensive population density estimates were conducted by means of pellet group counts. The counts were then correlated with the presence/absence index of cattle feces in the oak/pine forest of the reserve, following an altitudinal and land use gradient for the model of random sampling used. Results indicate a strong negative correlation between the presence of cattle and deer population densities. However, forage competition was not indicated as origin of this depletion and further studies are needed to better understand the local deer/cattle interactions.