Date of this Version
The effects of big game grazing of winter wheat on grain yield were studied during 12 trials in northern Utah between 1990-92. Differences in yield were measured for each trial using 20 sets of 1-m2 plots protected and variously grazed by mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) and Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus) in a randomized block design along the edges of sampled fields. Plots were hand cut at the beginning of commercial harvest. Grazing impacts were indexed by nighttime counts of game animals, pellet-group counts, and ocular estimates of percent track cover and forage use between protected and grazed plots. Results indicated that ungulate foraging in these trials did not significantly decrease grain yields despite high utilization percentages on wheat leaves in fall and early spring.