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The Effect of Immunocontraception on the Behavior and Reproduction of White-Tailed Deer

William J. McShea, Steven L. Monfort, Salah Hakim, Jay Kirkpatrick, Irwin Liu, John W. Turner, Jr., Lisa Chassy and Linda Munson
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 61, No. 2 (Apr., 1997), pp. 560-569
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3802615
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3802615
Page Count: 10
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The Effect of Immunocontraception on the Behavior and Reproduction of White-Tailed Deer
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Abstract

Behavioral and reproductive consequences of porcine zona pellucida (PZP) immunocontraception were examined in a herd of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus; n = 30) from September 1992 to September 1994. Does were captured from a wild population and placed within either of 2 large (32-ha total) wooded enclosures. Does were administered either: (1) a single injection containing PZP-emulsified in Freund's complete adjuvent (FCA) and microsphere-encapsulated PZP; (2) 2 injections of PZP-emulsified in FCA and Freund's incomplete adjuvant (FIA), 4 weeks apart; or (3) no treatment. Mature, spermic bucks (n = 5) were added to each pasture 4 weeks after the final PZP treatment, and reproductive behaviors and fawn production were observed for 2 years. Immunocontracepted females exhibited increased activity compared to non-treated females, presumably reflecting an increased number of estrus intervals. Similarly, enclosure bucks exhibited an extended breeding season compared to males in the surrounding wild population. The 2-injection PZP regimen provided effective contraception during both years of the study. The 1-injection PZP regime provided effective contraception only during the second year, following administration of a PZP booster. Histological evaluations of ovaries failed to reveal among-group differences in ovarian architecture. Contracepted-nonpregnant does gained significantly more weight than control females during the study.

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