Delayed Antler Development And Sexual Maturity Among Yearling Male White-Tailed Deer

Yearling male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) at Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky, had bony protuberances covered with hair in place of bone antlers. The testes were subfunctional but did contain type-A spermatogonia. The seminal vesicles were not producing seminal plasma. These abnormal deer had significantly smaller body and endocrine gland weights than normal yearling male deer. Since these abnormalities were not observed in older male deer, we considered the condition to be transitory. MorfQver we believe that the abnormalities were caused by a hormone deficiency between the anterior pituitary and the testes. Malnutrition brought on by chronic overuse of forage plants was a contributing influence.

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