Observation on Injuries in White-Tailed Deer

The frequency of chronic debilitation of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) due to traumatic injuries was estimated from necropsy records on 1,002 animals collected for scientific purposes throughout the southeastern United States. Evidence of previous injury was present in 76 deer (7.6 percent). Percentages of injured deer did not vary significantly according to sex, physical condition, or six-month periods associated with high or low hunting pressure. Incidence of injury increased with age for both sexes but was statistically significant only for does. The cause of most injuries was not determined although 30 percent were related to gunshot or arrow wound. It appears that traumatic injuries due to gunshot or highway collision usually are fatal and result in very little chronic debilitation in the few deer that survive.

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