Abstract

Title:  Trends in the quality of successive antler bucks in free ranging deer.
Author(s): DeYoung, C. A.
Year: 1989
Abstract: Managers with the goal of producing quality male white-tailed deer frequently employ some method of culling inferior animals. The most common culling is the taking of spike bucks, which are relatively easy to recognize. The culling of older deer is more difficult because of antler size overlap with good young deer. Additionally, the question arises as to whether a deer could be a "cull" one year and above average in the future. During the past 3 years, several hundred south Texas bucks have been captured for various purposes. Thirty seven bucks from 2 ranches were captured in 2 or 3 different years. I evaluated antler measurements of these bucks to determine if antler size was consistent within age class over successive years. Antler measurements evaluated were inside spread, points over 1 inch, left beam length, and left basal circumference. Means of antler measurements within age classes for all deer captured (28-50 bucks/ranch/year) were first calculated for each ranch. Then for bucks that were recaptured, I determined for each year they were captured if they were above or below the antler measurement means for their ranch and age class. The percent of bucks that were consistently above or below average was calculated for each antler measurement as was the percent that changed from above to below average or from below to above average. Results were similar for all antler measurements. The overall average percent that were consistent through succeeding years (always above or below average) was 77. Twenty-three percent changed quality through the years. These were about evenly divided between those that went from below to above average and vice versa.

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