Abstract

Title:  Possible effects of harvest strategy on the reproduction biology of white-tailed deer in Mississippi.
Author(s): Gruver, B. J., D. C. Guynn, Jr., and H. A. Jacobson
Year: 1980
Abstract: The variation in median and range of breeding dates of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virainianus) herds in Mississippi is large. Harvest and reproductive data indicate that the timing and intensity of harvesting antlered bucks may be contributing to this variation. The annual harvest rate of antlered bucks on the Chickasaw Wildlife Management Area in northeast Mississippi has been estimated to be approximately 0.80 with a resulting mature buck:doe ratio of 1:10 at the time of peak estrus. The studies of Noble (1960, Fed. Aid Proj. W56 172 pp.) and Jacobson A. (1979, Proc. SE Assoc. of Fish and Wildl. Agencies) imply a shift in median breeding date of nearly one month later in this area. A deterministic simulation model was constructed to determine the possible effects of the intensity and timing of antlered buck harvest on the proportion of does bred on their first estrus cycle, number of fawns produced, median fawning date and number of unbred does. Reproductive efficiency of males (number of does that can be served per week), estrus pattern, harvest rates, and timing of harvest relative to peak estrus can be used in the formulation of management programs for the white-tailed deer. High productivity and body condition both seem to be dependent upon the level of heterozygosity and it may be possible to manage for the genetic characteristics of white-tailed deer populations.

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