Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Demarais, Stephen

Committee Member

Rude, Brian

Committee Member

Strickland, Bronson

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife and Fisheries


Previous research documented that white-tailed deer body mass and antler size varied across physiographic regions of Mississippi. Deer from regions with greater soil fertility had greater body mass and antler size; however, this information is known only for individuals 6 months of age and older. I monitored birth mass and skeletal size of fawns produced by bred, adult, female white-tailed deer transplanted from the Delta, Thin Loess (Loess), and Lower Coastal Plain (LCP) soil regions to fawn in the Mississippi State University Rusty Dawkins Memorial Deer Unit. I evaluated the effect of soil region of origin, litter size, and fawn gender on mass and size of fawns at birth. Birth mass was not as variable as mass of older animals, but LCP fawns were lighter and shorter than loess and/or delta fawns. Twins were lighter and shorter than singletons. Males were heavier than females. Differences between regional birth dates within the pens and estimated regional birth dates based on a fetal growth curve raises questions about the wide-spread application of this method of estimating deer breeding and fawning dates.