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Monday, August 6 • 4:30pm - Friday, August 10 •12:00pm
Poster: Environmental Influences on Ages Estimated from Tooth Replacement and Wear

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AUTHORS: Oscar Cortez Jr., King Ranch Inc. and Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; Aaron M. Foley*, Charles A. DeYoung, Randy W. DeYoung, and David G. Hewitt – Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; Matthew J. Schnupp, King Ranch Inc.

ABSTRACT: White-tailed deer are often aged by tooth replacement and wear (TRW). It is unknown whether environmental factors or visual bias influence estimated TRW age. For instance, sandy soils may accelerate tooth wear, whereas supplemental feeding may have the opposite effect. Further, visual cues, such as body size and antler size, may influence estimated TRW age. Cementum annuli (CA) is another ageing technique that is unbiased; thus, the differentials between TRW and CA may provide information about external influences on TRW ages. We obtained CA and TRW ages from 7,389 male deer harvested on King Ranch during 2000-2014 and performed a mixed-effects analysis, with the difference between CA and TRW ages as the dependent variable, antler size, feeder site density, body mass, soil characteristics, and harvest date as exploratory variables, and TRW as a random effect. Results indicated that fixed effects explained little of the variation in age differences (R2 = 0.01). The largest influence came from body mass; the greater the body mass, the higher the TRW age than the CA age. This indicates that visual bias may influence TRW age; however, the effect size was small. A 9 kg (20 pound) increase in dressed body mass decreases the difference between TRW and CA by 0.1 years. Sand and supplemental feed had small influences on age differentials. Our results agree with previous studies that differences between true ages and estimated ages are likely a function of variability in teeth among individual deer. Despite the variability, CA and TRW were ± 1 year ~70% of the time, indicating that TRW has value for management purposes.

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Monday August 6, 2018 4:30pm - Friday August 10, 2018 12:00pm MDT
Assembly Hall Foyer

Attendees (1)