The Effects of Population Density on Juvenile Growth Rate in White-Tailed Deer
Environmental Management, 2014
Animal body size is driven by habitat quality,food availability, and nutrition. Adult size can relate to birth weight, to length of the ontogenetic growth period, and/or to the rate of growth.
… with the positive correlation between average adult body mass and population-level ontogenetic growth rate established, growth rate can be used to evaluate habitat quality and the efﬁcacy of herd management decisions, and aspects of growth andbody size can better be studied on a population by population basis for purposes of serving quality deer management, sustainable harvest, and/or other management goals. Deer have relatively long reproductive spans and vegetation may take time to recover from intense herbivory (Horsley 2003).
Our experience suggests that though sport hunters desire greater numbers of deer that are easier to ﬁnd and harvest, when provided with biological evidence that supports management at lower population densities, they are not only interested but also supportive.