Endogenous Fat As An Indicator Of Physical Condition Of Southeastern White-Tailed Deer

Data were collected from 440 white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) throughout much of the southeastern United States in order to determine relationships between specific fat indices and overall physical condition. Specific criteria were presented for evaluating physical condition of white-tailed deer. An improved method for measuring the amount of bone marrow fat was described. The employment of various fat reserves as indicators of physical condition indicated that kidney fat was superior to other indices. Heart and pericardial fat were found to be nearly as favorable as kidney fat in all seasons except winter. Limited data showed tail fat to be a favorable indicator of physical condition for winter and spring. Femur marrow fat content, by itself, was not a reliable indicator of phvsical condition.

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