Researchers have suggested that the absence of pregnancy and lactation in contracepted deer would result in better body condition compared to pregnant deer. We collected data on body weight, Kistner score, and kidney-fat index (KFI) from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) harvested in November and December 2000 after a 3-year immunocontraceptive study. We found no difference in weight, Kistner score, or KFI between contracepted (barren ≥2 yr) and noncontracepted (reproductive ≥2 yr) deer. In the short term, adult deer that were barren and fertile the year prior to removal had similar weights, Kistner scores, and KFIs. Pregnant deer were able to rebound from the energetically demanding gestation and lactation of pregnancy to a condition comparable to contracepted deer. We concluded that the lack of gestation and lactation due to immunocontraceptive treatment likely would not improve deer condition going into the forage-limited winter period.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation