Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 1

Deer Sex in the 21st Century: Part 1
W
HILE the very mention of Bambi makes wildlife biologists wince in pain, they would have once begrudgingly agreed with the premise that the biggest, strongest, most mature buck (i.e. the Prince of the Forest) would likely be Bambi’s father. The paradigm of white-tailed deer breeding ecology is that large dominant bucks do the breeding — period. For decades, observational research supported the idea that bucks maintain a strict dominance hierarchy in which physically mature males dominate immature males. Bucks at the top of this hierarchy possessed all of the breeding rights, and any hunter could recite this “common” knowledge. Fast forward to the 21st century and the development of DNA testing. Trying to observe a specific behavior of wild animals, such as mating, is the proverbial needle in a haystack. And, in the past, when it came to reliably determining paternity, you were more likely to win the lottery. But now, that unique double helix string of nucleic acids can pinpoint exactly who your daddy is. A whole new world has opened regarding mating systems and paternity. Harbor seals, greater horseshoe bats and brushtail possums are just a few of the species on which DNA paternity studies have been conducted. And as more tissue was spun around in test tubes, interesting details surfaced, like multiple paternity. That’s right. Individuals in the same litter can be fathered by more than one male. Deer mice, common shrews, black bears and grizzly bears have documented cases of multiple paternity. What about white-tailed deer? Surely this cannot happen. There is a pecking order. Big mature males get breeding rights. It’s common knowledge for cryin’ out loud. Think again. In 2002, a study documented multiple paternity in captive white-tailed deer. Two years later, it was documented in a free-ranging population in Michigan. Since then, multiple paternity has been documented in every free-ranging whitetailed deer population that has been tested. A set of twins has a 20 to 25 percent chance of being half siblings. Which means a doe will mate with multiple bucks, casting a new light on her role in the “bedroom” saga. So the biggest, baddest, best looking buck doesn’t get all the girls after all. In fact, a quarter of the time he can’t even keep his hooves completely on one. So if the Prince of the Forest isn’t doing all the breeding, who is?

By J. T. Fleegle
PGC Wildlife Biologist

AUGUST 2008

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010

Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010
Contents
Bonds for a Lifetime
Memory Maker
CWD in Pennsylvania —Will it Come?
Eight in ’08
Do It Yourself Dirt Hole Set
A Shot in the Dark
Troy’s First Bear
Jamie Get Your Gun
Tip and the Woods Rabbit
Down to the Wire
November
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Fun Game
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Bonds for a Lifetime
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Memory Maker
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - CWD in Pennsylvania —Will it Come?
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Eight in ’08
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Do It Yourself Dirt Hole Set
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - A Shot in the Dark
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Troy’s First Bear
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Jamie Get Your Gun
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Tip and the Woods Rabbit
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Down to the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - November
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 48
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 49
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 52
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - N1
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - N2
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - November 2010 - Cover4
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