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Discussion Starter #1
I made a statement in another area that I believed doe also carried genes related to antler growth. Does anyone have data to confirm or discount this statement? Data is the key word here. <----<<<
 

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Joe Archer, I'm not aware of a conclusive scientific study out there, but Dr. James Kroll has some interesting statements on it (he'll be speaking at our seminar this coming Saturday at Jays and you could discuss directly with him). He does state in his book "Producing and Harvesting White-tailed Deer" that the factors that produce quality antlers are complex, involving many gene combinations. He goes on to say that he believes that the dam contributes much to the ultimate antler size of her offspring. And apparently the buck contributes the basic framework on which the female "sculpts" the final product.
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Boyd
 

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Most interesting question, about which I doubt you will get any serious "data" answer(s)...
When, as I do, one only has a very basic, rudimentary knowledge about heredity,yet knows about :
- "Nucleus" contained heredity,
- "Cytoplasmic" contained heredity,
- All the time, searchers involved, and all money spent to investigate the subject for Mankind,
- That, to my modest knowledge, it seems accepted by the scientific community that the "male" characteristics, with antlers as "secondary" male characteristics, are only derived from the father,
- That the general environmental influence on the genetic potential is decisive,

it occurs to me that if you wait for "data" to solve your whitetail herd problems, you are not about to see any quality herd ...

Yet I will tell you about the single "paper' I ever met (as a quote) about this subject, and your own "white-tailed deer" : it has been written by "HARMEL" (1983): it is quoted as saying that mother and father participate equally to spikes height and body weight, heredity wise.
This single publication (I know of), by quote only, cannot change anything to the results of ALL the very sound other ones, based upon very serious field observations, made over many years in a row, which conclude that antlers quality results very heavily much more of biological and social well being than from genetics.
To end with, I regret you did not answer what I posted for you about bucks/does sex ratio, and hope you will.
Friendly yours, Jack.

 

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I ended by finding this :
HARMEL E.D. (1983) : "Effects of genetics on antler quality and body size in white-tailed deer", in "Antler development in Cervidae.
Ed. Brown, Texas:339-348.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Belbriette, I didnt respond to the ratio question, because I was did not know the answer, sorry. But in response to genetics, it doesnt matter that it is a secondary sexual trait, many of these are proven to be contributed to by both male and female. For example, milk production in cattle. The main question would be, "is antler growth a SEX-LINKED, male characteristic. For example, baldness in men is sex-linked male. I honestly believe though that the doe does contribute genes for antler growth. <----<<<

[This message has been edited by Joe Archer (edited 09-13-2000).]
 

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Joe Archer... Deer and Deer Hunting mag. did an article on this last year. I don't know which month. www.deeranddeerhunting.com

There were good pictures showing similarities in rack formations of does progeny that could only come from the doe.
This is an excellent magizine if you have interests in deer biology.
 

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To Joe Archer :
Thank you for your fast answer.
Did you take the time to draw the very theoretical pyramid of ages I advise ?

The first and most important step of management is obviously to set a sound goal, well adapted to an up to date knowledge of all parameters involved in this management, both from the stand points of the used and the users (read deer and hunters).
Biology is so complex, that when one door is opened, it leads to other doors left to be open : I respect your conviction that does genes can have some impact on antlers, but I notice that for someone looking after "Data", you only have your conviction to put forwards, in this matter.
As to the male genes influence on milk yeld, I do not think this may be extrapolated to that of does genes on antler, and you know, as well as I do, that many single publications are full of flaws, and quickly denounced by other scientists.
On the other hand, so MANY corroborating field researches and experiments demonstrate, so VERY copiously, that the global biological and social environment plays, very logically, a most decisive role in the "end product", that I cannot see any practical interest in focusing on the does role in antler development, as, if it exists, it is obviously negligible, in the context of your whitetail, and our red deer, herd problems.


 

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Discussion Starter #8
Belbriette, what I was saying was that if doe contribute significantly to the genetic aspects of antler growth that we should move on to heard health issues and put the "depleting the genetics when shooting young bucks" theory to rest. <----<<<
 

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To Joe Archer :
I enjoy our exchange : from controversy should " spring out" the "light".
Biology is such a complex, plurifactorial educated guess, that all honnest and serious opinions are not only most welcome but also most needed.
There is, of course, on my side, a language barrier between us, which can lead to misunderstanding, yet,I have to tell you I am having a hard time following your thinking :
- I give absolutely no credit to the fact that "shooting young bucks depletes the genetics", on the contrary, with everything needed to back up my thinking, I am deeply convinced buck fawns buttons and yearlings bucks antlers are the most evident results of their class of age WELL BEING, independently of any genetic background, just because they are in the most significant stage of skeleton growth, growth which is much more important than to develop antlers when they are, naturally, not needed. Even later on, survival is more important than antlers (if you have not, please read me on other topics).
- Once more, as said several times elsewhere in this very interesting QDM forum, physical condition (Dominance, yearly climate, food, shelter, density, sex ratio, structure of population by ages, respect of mother / young bond up to the end of the vital learning stage ...)is obviously much more significant than inherited genes, to reach full expression of the genetic potential.
- If this is what you mean by "health issues" we are in total agreement, if not, please let me know what you mean.
- As your "herd" is generally super abundant, very badly structured, both from a sex ratio and male average age standpoints, which can only have very negative consequences FOR the deer, AND for the hunters trophy minded, to correct the situation necessarily means you have to shoot more females and less males than you have been doing : in my opinion, this starts, necessarily, by protecting buttons fawns and yearling males ("let them grow"), no matter what kind of antlers they wear, UNLESS there is a possibility to spare only the "best" yearlings to reach the goal.
- In all my "Web trip", in your "QDMA", no where did I notice any strong will to decide the necessity of imposing male / female quota to reach the good herd structure : I think this is because you idealistically wish to reach a large democratic concensus.
I will not blame you for this : I thought just the same for YEARS, yet I had to admit I was wrong, even being well informed, most hunters cannot control themselves in the field.
I do not know how your speed limits on highways have been decided, I know in France there wasn't any poll about them, and they became laws against which nobody could go against, just because they were indisputable (yet, "poaching" is always going on...) .
The more I read about hunting in your country, the more I am driven to think indisputable laws may well become necessary for a real QDMA to exist.
Friendly yours,
Jack.


 

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Hope you guys don’t mind me jumping into the middle of this. Jack, please tell me if I understand you correctly. You don’t believe that the doe significantly contributes genetically to the size of antlers her offspring will grow? This goes against everything I have ever read about Trophy Deer Management in many articles (magazines not journals). To be honest, I find it hard to believe that most if not all the deer managers in this county are wasting their time manipulating the does in their herd.

Tim Baker
 

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Ok, now i am totally frustrated. I searched Pub-med (medical journal search), and alta-vista for all combination of "heredity, antler, and genetics" with deer and white-tail deer and come up with little or nothing. It seems that there are no significant puplications in this area. Here is one that I did find, but the study design only lookd at male contributions...

Heredity 1994 Jul;73 ( Pt 1):78-83 Related Articles, Books, LinkOut


Heritabilities for antler characteristics and body weight in yearling white-tailed deer.

Williams JD, Krueger WF, Harmel DH

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A & M University, College Station 77843.

Heritabilities for two body weights and five antler characteristics were estimated for a captive white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) herd maintained by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Single male breeding pens with 10-14 female deer were used for five consecutive generations. To minimize selection and maintain a broad genetic base, different sets of sires and as many different dams as possible were randomly assigned as breeders each generation. All deer were accurately predigreed by sire and dam and, except for birth weight, traits were measured at 1.5 years of age. Heritabilities were estimated utilizing (1) sire and within-sire components of variance, and (2) regression of male progeny performance on sire performance. Theoretically, these procedures estimate the amount of additive genetic variance present in a population without indication of non-additive genetic (dominance and epistasis) and maternal effects. Heritabilities ranged from 0.00-0.17 (birth weight), 0.58-0.64 (body weight), 0.22-0.56 (antler points), 0.47-0.70 (main beam length), 0.03-0.43 (antler spread), 0.80-0.89 (basal circumference) and 0.71-0.86 (antler weight). These heritabilities, except for birth weight, suggest that substantial genetic change could be expected from individual selection if realistic selection differentials were used.

If only they supplied these statistics for progeny tests of doe! <----<<<
 

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To Tim Baker :
You are most welcome !
A short precise question deserves a similar answer :
- I do not know if a female GENETICALLY contribute, or not, to the size of antlers her offspring will grow.
- What I do know (read "learned" from
numerous scientific publications, from many different sources, totally corroborating each others, as well as from personal experience) is that antlers "quality" is very essentially dependent on the general welfare of the herd (if you have not already done it, please refer to "Buck/Doe sex ratios" and "Average and individual quality").
- I also know, for sure, not any selective shooting of males, based upon antlers characteristics, has ever "improved" any herd quality if his biological and social welfare was not granted to start with.
- In this context, and from a practical point of view, I feel meaningless to be preoccupied by a possible female GENES influence on antlers "quality", which, at the best, CANNOT be "significant" at all, and even not at all, if one accepts it is a duty to maintain genetic biodiversity !

To Joe Archer :
I found another reference to genes in whitetail :
TEMPLETON and Al. 1983 "Single dominant major gene effect on the expression of antlers point number in the white-tailed deer" in Antler development in Cervidae. Ed.
Brown, Texas : 365-387.

Friendly yours,
Jack.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Two of the main factors effecting antler growth are genetics and food supply. Balbriette, you are getting into an area that I was specifically avoiding in this thread. I was trying to see if there was any validity to the statement "without QDM, we are depleting the genetics of the deer herd"....period. Please leave social structure and herd health and all the rest to another thread. I am suggesting that if I could mate an average buck with 100 doe, I would produce a genetically diverse group of deer (genetically for antler growth that is). The article I posted above this one is proof that antler growth is due, in part, to genetics.

I just want to lay to rest the theory that shooting young bucks depletes the gene pool in our deer herds....and move on. <----<<<
 

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To Joe Archer :
I am sorry to have both unintentionally and most involuntarily introduced concepts you did not wish in your topic. Two reasons to this : first, I did not understand it the way you meant it, second, I am strongly convinced that LIFE is an INDIVISIBLE whole, meaningful only when looked at, as such.
I followed your advice and opened another thread.
Even in a purely "natural" context, in most wild unhunted populations, around 50% of the newcomers do not enter their second year : even if derived from "specialised" authorities this looks very logical to me.
As a result, I think the hunter duty is to mimic, as well as possible, what Nature would do in the first two years of the life of their preys.
Hence, if hunters act like this, the shooting of fawns and yearlings, would certainly not depelete more the genetic pool than Nature has successfully done all along time.
Afterwards is another story : trophy mania sets in, with all its drawbacks, a rational QDM must cope with both of the above to be successful, at least that is my opinion.
Jack.

 
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