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


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.