Antler Development in White-tailed Deer: Implications for Management
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Antlers are among the most identifiable characteristics of species of the deer family, Cervidae, which comprises caribou, elk, moose, mule deer and white-tailed deer. Antlers have been prized and pursued by hunters for many centuries. Their rapid growth and deciduous (regrown each year) nature has made them fascinating for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Within the past decade, many Missouri landowners have refocused their white-tailed deer management objectives to allow more male deer in the population the opportunity to reach older age classes and, thus, the potential to produce larger antlers. An understanding of the factors that control antler growth and implications on managing white-tailed deer populations is important to achieve these quality deer management objectives.
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