Mass Estimation of White-tailed Deer in Southern Texas

Predictive equations based on various body measurements have provided wildlife managers with practical and reliable estimates of deer mass, but have not been reported for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the Western Rio Grande Plain region of Texas, nor for male white-tailed deer in Texas. To address this need, we assessed relationships among live mass and dressed mass, chest girth, shoulder height, hoof length and width, and gross Boone and Crockett Club (BCC) score. Regression analyses indicated live mass of mature (>5.5 years old) males can be predicted with a model based on dressed mass (R2= 0.883). Chest girth (R2 = 0.486) and shoulder height (R2 = 0.397) provided less reliable estimates, whereas gross BCC score and age provided poor estimates (R2 < 0.19). Female fawn and yearling live mass can be predicted with models based on dressed mass (R2 = 0.962), hoof length (R2 = 0.898), shoulder height (R2 = 0.822), and chest girth (R2 = 0.772), whereas only dressed mass provided an accurate prediction of live mass (R2 = 0.818) for adult females. Wildlife managers can use these equations to accurately estimate live mass of live-captured or harvested white-tailed deer by sex and age class in the Western Rio Grande Plain region of Texas.

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