Antler Development of Captive Louisiana White-tailed Bucks

We examined antler mass and number of antler points of 73 captive whitetailed (Odocoileus virginianus) bucks (born in 1985-89) during 1986-91 for relationships with buck maturity, birth date, and body mass, and compared development of spike- versus branched-antlered yearlings to provide harvest recommendations. Antler mass of individual bucks at each age-class was positively associated with antler mass at the subsequent age-class (rs ≥ 0.59, P < 0.01). Number of antler points of individual bucks at successive age-classes was positively associated through the 4.5-year ageclass (rs a 0.41, P < 0.01). Bucks with fewer antler points as yearlings had fewer antler points at the 2.5-year age-class (rs = 0.41, P < 0.01) but added more antler points between the first and second antler sets (P < 0.01, R2 = 0.78) than bucks with more antler points as yearlings. Body mass was associated with antler mass and number of antler points at the yearling age-class and with antler mass at the 2.5-year age-class. Spike-antlered yearlings continued to exhibit inferior antler development at the 2.5- and 3.5-year age-classes compared with branched-antlered yearlings.

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