Delineating Age and Species of Harvested Cottontail and Swamp Rabbits

Age structure of harvested populations is important to wildlife biologists to adequately observe effects of harvest and management regimes. We aged harvested cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and swamp (S. aquaticus) rabbits by eye lens weight. We developed 2 logistic regression equations based on external morphometrics (mass [N=213] and hind foot length [N=209]) to predict age and species. Our model used to delineate species had high correct classification rates (>89%). Hind foot length and mass were significant predictors of age class for both species and correct classification rates were high (>78%). These predictive equations will allow wildlife biologists to determine species and age of rabbits in the field for less cost compared to other methods. Therefore, we believe our models will assist wildlife biologists in estimating age structure and determining species of harvested rabbits.

Publication date
Starting page
Ending page