White-tailed deer

Abstract

Title:  Balanced either-sex deer management on Marion County Wildlife Management Area: a case study
Author(s): Godwin, K. D., K. C. Godwin, B. Thomason, and D. Stringer
Year: 1995
Abstract: With significant and well documented reduction in public hunting opportunities on private and forest industry lands, increasing demands have been placed on wildlife management areas (WMAs) in Mississippi. Historically, a primary goal of deer management on WMAs has been to maximize hunting opportunity within the bounds of sound wildlife management. Whlle providing public hunting opportunity has been easily achieved, regulation of harvest on these WMAs, particularly obtaining adequate antlerless harvest, has often proved difficult. Today many of the WMA deer populations have characteristics of classic buck-exploited herds with unequal sex ratios and relatively low reproductive productivity. One exception has been Marion County WMA, where changes in regulations and hunter attitudes have led to a controlled management situation with a relatively balanced antlered and antlerless harvest. This small southern WMA has shifted from buckexploited harvest to a balanced either-sex maximum sustained yield management program. Compared to neighboring public areas, Marion County WMA currently maintains a more balanced buck-doe age structure, higher deer productivity indices, earlier fawn conception dates, and significantly higher deerlacre harvest. However, the success of balanced either-sex management on this WMA has created new problems. For example, productivity has increased to the point that finding acceptable ways to maintain antlerless harvest at a significantly higher level has become a problem for management. Management implications from the Marion County WMA deer management program should have considerable value to many public WMAs.

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