Influence of maternal characteristics and reproductive history on fawn recruitment in female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and Examination of phenotypic characteristics of successful mated pairs in white-tailed deer
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Forestry and Wildlife Science
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There still exist gaps in the literature regarding how intrinsic factors influence recruitment success and mate selectivity in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We examined a captive population of white-tailed deer from 2008 to 2019 to compare annual recruitment data to maternal age, body size, and past reproductive history. Our second objective examined characteristics of mated pairs that recruited fawns. Recruitment was significantly influenced by age, recruitment success the previous year, and an interaction between age and body size, indicating there are differences in quality of female deer and different reproductive strategies depending on age and body size. There were significant positive relationships for age and body size in mated pairs; however, large differences in age were still observed in some mated pairs. Furthermore, we documented positive assortative mating, but the mating system was dynamic, and selectivity likely changes with herd demographics.