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Reproductive Patterns of White-Tailed Deer Related to Nutritional Plane

Louis J. Verme
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Oct., 1969), pp. 881-887
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3799320
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3799320
Page Count: 7
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Reproductive Patterns of White-Tailed Deer Related to Nutritional Plane
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Abstract

The breeding season of penned female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) receiving ample nutrition during autumn was similar to that of does given approximately 30 percent less food. The mean date on which 60 deer bred was November 17 ± 8.4 days; however, 6 of 13 yearling does on inadequate rations failed to achieve estrus. Productivity of low-diet yearlings and prime-age animals amounted to 0.62 and 1.36 fawns per doe, respectively, compared to rates of 1.63 and 1.80 for high-diet deer. Males comprised 70 percent of the births from physically mature mothers on low diet when bred, whereas males constituted 46.7 percent of the offspring conceived by does on high diet. Gestation periods averaged 202.1 ± 4.1 days among 55 does provided with moderately good nutrition during pregnancy; the mean duration probably was related to the fairly large (7.5 ± 1.3 lb) fawns born. Available experimental and field evidence indicates there are four general classes of reproduction for Michigan white-tails, depending upon variations in range nutritive quality and winter weather severity; the patterns are described.

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