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Indices of Carcass Fat in a Colorado Mule Deer Population

Allen E. Anderson, E. Medin and David C. Bowden
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 36, No. 2 (Apr., 1972), pp. 579-594
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3799091
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3799091
Page Count: 16
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Indices of Carcass Fat in a Colorado Mule Deer Population
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Abstract

Bled carcass weight (BCW), eviscerated carcass weight (ECW), kidney fat index (KFI), percentage of femur marrow fat (FMF), carcass density (CD), percentage of carcass fat (PCF), and depth of back fat (DBF) were measured in Rocky Mountain mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) that were collected at approximate weekly intervals from seasonal ranges within the Cache la Poudre River drainage, 1961-65. Our findings apply to deer about 18 months of age and older. Most indices of fat were significantly (P < 0.001) interrelated. Exclusive of the BCW and ECW indices, the only significant (P < 0.01) between-sex difference in any fat index involving the total sample was the greater mean FMF of females. Significant (P < 0.01) between-sex differences in means of seasonal carcass fat indices occurred during the winter, when all fat indices of females were greater. Peaks of significant (P < 0.01) polynomial curves of KFI, FMF, and PCF versus collection date (X) approximated the inferred breeding season in both sexes. Troughs of these curves approximated the period of minimum testicular volume in males and the period of birth and early lactation in females. From 1962 to 1964, there was a significant (P < 0.025) annual decrease in the mean FMF of females and in the mean PCF of both males and females; total annual precipitation and mean browse yields were decreasing during this period. The extreme variability of KFI, PCF, and DBF appeared to limit their usefulness as indices to detect annual or seasonal changes in mean carcass fat.

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