SREL Reprint #0990




Demographic and Genetic Characteristics of White-Tailed Deer Populations Subjected to Still or Dog Hunting

Kim T. Scribner, Michael C. Wooten, Michael H. Smith, and Paul E. Johns



White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) have been harvested from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Plant (SRP) in South Carolina since 1965.  Data have been collected from 6,876 animals harvested from yearly Dog- and Still-Hunted Areas in adjacent upland hardwood units.  The dynamics of different portions of the SRP herd were followed from 1977 to 1982 to document changes in herd age structure, sex ratios, and genetic characteristics relative to the different harvest methods.  Age structure, sex ratios, and mortality rates of populations in the Still-Hunted Area were similar to those of populations collected from the Dog-Hunted Area.  The greatest level of genetic variability in terms of year and year-age effects on allele frequencies were observed in dog-hunted populations and in populations in the Still-Hunted Area after initiation of dog hunting.  Deer populations subjected to different harvest methodology exhibit strong genetic differences in population characteristics.  Thus, biological resources are likely to respond genetically in varying ways to different harvest methods.

Key words:  Harvest strategies.  Harvesting deer, Controlled harvests, Deer dogs, Deer drives, Genetic variability, Demographic characteristics


SREL Reprint #0990

Scribner, K.T., M.C. Wooten, M.H. Smith, and P.E. Johns. 1985. Demographic and genetic characteristics of white-tailed deer populations subjected to still or dog hunting. In Game Harvest Management, p. 197-212.

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