Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Demarais, Stephen

Committee Member

Strickland, Bronson K.

Committee Member

Belant, Jerrold L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


Factors associated with rank position are poorly understood whereas even fewer studies assessed if benefits were associated with increased rank position when resources were unlimited. I assessed whether age, body mass, size, and testosterone levels were important in rank establishment among 132 captive female white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). I also assessed if the benefit metrics of improved body condition, decreased stress level, and earlier parturition date were related to rank position. Deer in each of 9 study pens had a linear hierarchy with a mean h Πof 0.39 (SD = 0.09). Rank position was moderately related to age (P < 0.1) and was strongly related to body mass and size (P < 0.01). There was no relationship between benefit metrics and rank position (P < 0.1). Although increased body mass, size, and age improved rank position there were no benefits associated with increased rank when resources were unlimited.