|SREL Reprint #0948|
Fat Levels in Male White-tailed Deer during the Breeding Season
E. Johns, E. Gus Cothran, Michael H. Smith, and Ronald K. Chesser,
Percent body fat was estimated from the Kidney Fat
Index for 1,726 male, white-tailed deer from the Savannah River Plant in South
Carolina for the years 1974 through 1978. There
was a significant decrease in percent body fat from September through December
in all animals > 2.5 years. Percent
fat in fawns increased significantly from September through December.
Fat levels in 1.5-year-old animals did not show a general trend for
either an increase or decrease from September through December. However, the lowest percent fats were consistently observed
in November for all but the 0.5-year-old males.
Percent body fat was significantly related to body weight, month of
collection, and age of the male, but the multiple coefficient of determination
was small for this relationship (R2=0.09). The rapid change in fat levels in males during the breeding
season indicates that caution must be exercised when using the kidney fat index
as a management food. Management
decisions derived from the use of KFI should be based upon animals collected at
the same time of the year and of the same sex and age class.
Low fat levels in older males during the breeding season are primarily a
result of breeding activity.
SREL Reprint #0948
Johns, P.E., E.G. Cothran, M.H. Smith, and
R.K. Chesser. 1982. Fat
levels in male white-tailed deer during the breeding season. Proceedings of the
Annual Conference of Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies