Designing the Future Deer Herd

Research

AI Schulte‐Hostedde, GF Mastromonaco - Evolutionary Applications, 2015
... Both natural animal populations and those in captivity are subject to evolutionary forces. Evolutionary changes to captive populations may be an important, but poorly understood, factor that can affect the sustainability of these populations...


Genetic Diversity Issues

... Although hunting has an impact on red deer gene pools, the main threat today is habitat fragmentation in human-dominated landscapes. The resulting increase in genetic drift and inbreeding reduces variability in isolated populations and may lead to inbreeding depression. To support vital meta-populations, migration corridors should be established...

... Immigration into small isolated captive and wild populations is recommended to alleviate inbreeding depression... These results indicate substantial benefits can be gained by the translocation of as few as a single animal between small, partially inbred populations ...

deer populations in Iowa Whitney Briggs, Lynne Gardner & Julie Blanchong,
Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management, Iowa State University
... Conclusions:  High levels of diversity suggests no isolation of urban deer.  Urban and rural populations are genetically similar.  Implications:  High rate of movement
between urban and rural populations

...  we present a genetic analysis of 25 Mesola red deer ... A sensitivity analysis revealed that inbreeding depression and possible catastrophes had a huge impact on the population's prospects. However, the establishment of two subpopulations and successful attempts at reducing the consequences of catastrophic events were able to significantly mitigate the harmful effects of both inbreeding and environmental stochasticity...

... Immigration into small isolated captive and wild populations is recommended to alleviate inbreeding depression... These results indicate substantial benefits can be gained by the translocation of as few as a single animal between small, partially inbred populations ...

Katherine Ralls. Jonathan Ballou  Trends in Ecology & Evolution.  Volume 1, Issue 1, July 1986, Pages 19-22
... Small captive populations are likely to become extinct. Detailed breeding plans based on the principles of population genetics and demography can greatly increase their chances of long-term survival. Zoos have now begun to implement such plans but lack the resources to extend them to the many species that are likely to become extinct in the wild in the near future.

Migration to Improve Genetic Diversity
Female deer disperse farther than males, present disease-control challenge, Science Daily, June 28, 2016
... “Dispersal of female deer is density dependent, meaning that higher deer densities lead to greater dispersal rates.” He explained. “Therefore, reducing deer density will reduce female dispersal rates — and likely will reduce disease spread. Containing the spread of chronic wasting disease is going to be difficult when female deer disperse. Although not as many females disperse — 8 to 24 percent of females versus 50 to 75 percent of males — there end up being more of them, because they live longer than males and they disperse an average of 11 miles compared to 5 miles for males.”


News

With study, you can groom a place where deer flourish November 28, 2015 Minnesota, SC Times
... Our group tries to manage the herd in our area by being selective with the deer we harvest. Our goal is to carry a relatively high number of deer, while improving the overall age structure of the herd, particularly with bucks. We have been selectively harvesting deer for several years now, and the results are slowly starting to show...

Deer Control: DEC Plan Is Not Reducing Numbers Yet November 4, 2015 New York, ithaca.com 
...  a program which allows hunters to take up to two antlerless deer per day and added a two-week, antlerless-only season in January.  ...“When you have more does than bucks, things go awry,” Edwards said. “The inferior bucks have the opportunity to breed as much as they can. When the herd is even, one buck for one doe, the dominant buck is going to be spreading his genes.” ...

The Tragic Saga of a Texas “Superbuck” February 12, 2016 OutdoorHub
... They determined that the deer would score over 200 inches at four ... a pact was made among the hunters that the buck would be allowed to live out its natural life and spread its genes into the gene pool for as long as it lived... After a few weeks, it became clear that Superbuck was missing... above the fireplace, where Superbuck’s mount hung for all to see ...