Volume 83, Issue 8 p. 1762-1772
Research Article

Spatial distribution and landscape associations of large-antlered deer

Rebecca L. Cain

Rebecca L. Cain

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources, East Lansing, MI, 48824 USA

E-mail: [email protected]

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Nathan P. Snow

Nathan P. Snow

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources, East Lansing, MI, 48824 USA

Current affiliation: Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, 700 University Boulevard, MSC 218, Kingsville, TX 78363, USA.

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Joanne C. Crawford

Joanne C. Crawford

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources, East Lansing, MI, 48824 USA

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David M. Williams

David M. Williams

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources, East Lansing, MI, 48824 USA

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William F. Porter

William F. Porter

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources, East Lansing, MI, 48824 USA

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First published: 26 September 2019
Citations: 4

ABSTRACT

For more than a century, the Boone and Crockett Club has kept records of harvest locations for 38 categories of North American big game, which includes measurement details and sizes of enduring characteristics (e.g., antlers, skulls, horns). All white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) entered in the Club records (i.e., record deer) have large antlers because the measurements must meet or exceed a minimum size to qualify for entry. We used the records from the Club to test the hypothesis that the spatial distribution in the harvest of record deer was related to the number of antlered deer harvested, variations in land productivity, soil mineral content, and attributes of land cover for 9 states in the midwestern United States. We used a Bayesian theoretical framework to develop a spatial model that examined the influence of explanatory variables on the number of record deer harvested in each county. In our study area, 3,658 record deer were harvested in 692 of the 856 counties (80.8%). More record deer were harvested in counties that had more high-contrast edges, less contiguous land cover, and greater variation in soil productivity. These results provide information for managers and hunters to better understand the spatial distribution of record deer and factors that are correlated with their distribution. © 2019 The Wildlife Society.