Date of this Version
Great Plains Research 23.1 (Spring 2013), pp. 33-37.
Electronic deer check systems offer state natural resource agencies alternatives to mandatory in-person check stations, resulting in potential savings in money and personnel. However, a reliable means for hunters to classify the age of harvested antlered deer must be established so that important management indices such as antlered yearling harvest can continue to be used to set future management goals. Therefore, we evaluated the use of six different antler metrics to predict age class of white-tailed and mule deer (1.5 and >/= 2.5 years). We used discriminant analysis to determine the number of deer correctly classified into each age class based on the antler metric with the greatest degree of separation for each species. Of those evaluated, main beam length and inside spread were the two most accurate measurements for both species. For white-tailed deer, 93% (114 of 123) of the 1.5-year age class and 93% (251 of 271) of the >/= 2.5-year age class were correctly classified using main beam length with a cutoff of 364 mm. For mule deer, 100% (12 of 12) of the 1.5-year age class and 97% (35 of 36) of the >/= 2.5-year age class were correctly classified using main beam length with a cutoff of 352 mm. Antler metrics of both deer species can be used to accurately classify age class while likely saving funds and personnel hours.