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Journal Article

Antler Characteristics as Related to Social Status of Male Southern Mule Deer

R. Terry Bowyer
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep. 11, 1986), pp. 289-298
DOI: 10.2307/3671833
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3671833
Page Count: 10

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Topics: Antlers, Deer, Velvet, Mules, Yearlings, Social classes, Geist, Mesas, Mating behavior, Tablelands
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Antler Characteristics as Related to Social Status of Male Southern Mule Deer
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Abstract

Antler characteristics of southern mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus fuliginatus) and the relationship of these structures to male dominance were studied in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, San Diego County, California during 1977-1979. Number of antler tines correlated positively with antler characteristics related to the overall size of antlers. The mean date for the shedding of antler velvet was 17 September; the mean date of antler casting was 24 February. Males in larger antler classes tended to shed their velvet and cast their antlers earlier, and performed more aggressive and sexual behaviors than smaller-antlered males. Males interacted aggressively more often with opponents in the same antler class than with those in different classes. Males in larger antler classes typically defeated smaller-antlered opponents. Only males with large antlers were observed to copulate with females. Number of antler times provided a reliable measure of social rank and perhaps reproductive success for male southern mule deer.

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