Wildlife & Hunting

Effects of Body Mass, Physiographic Region, and Environmental Cues on Reproductive Timing in Deer

Principal Investigators

Dr. Steve Demarais
Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Dr. Bronson Strickland
Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

Chad Dacus
Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks


Graduate Research Assistants

Michael P. Dye
Mississippi State University Department of Wildlife and Fisheries


The reproductive timing and success of white-tailed deer are important to managers. We evaluated the reproductive variability of pen-raised deer and wild populations within Mississippi and investigated effects of age, body condition, and moon phase on conception dates. We also examined the reproductive potential of doe fawns from three regions of Mississippi. Individual conception dates varied more than expected and were not related to moon phase. Age affected individual conception date, although the effect may have been confounded by estimated gestation length. Population level variation was less than reported and could not be explained by moon phase or late-winter body condition. One of 65 doe fawns bred. The critical mass for reproduction may be lower in Mississippi than previous reports for the northern United States. Regional variation in fawn breeding based on yearling lactation rates warrants additional research.

Full Report on Research Accomplishments To Date

Funding for this project was provided by:

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