Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Major Professor

Michael R. Pelton

Committee Members

James L. Byford, Ralph W. Dimmick, Boyd L. Dearden


Presently available aging techniques were evaluated to determine the feasibility of using such techniques for aging the European wild hog. These techniques include the cementum annuli method, age-growth relationships, and the relationship of age and eye lens weight. Any reliable aging technique derived in the study was to be used in developing the population structures for two hog populations in the mountains of East Tennessee. Annuli in the cementum of the teeth showed little promise for aging hogs. It appeared that only 6 of 128 animals in the study could be aged by this method. Body measurements and weight showed low correlations with age and were poor estimators of age for the species. The equation y = 445.68x3.80 where y is the age in years and x is the weight in grams of the dried eye lens, was derived from a regression of the lens weight of six known-age hogs on age. This equation accurately ages hogs over 26 months of age. The population structures for the Tellico Wildlife Management Area and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were developed based on a combination of the dentition aging technique and the eye lens equation above. The age pyramids for both areas were broad at the base indicating expanding populations. The average age for hogs in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was 1.47 years while hogs on the Tellico Wildlife Management Area averaged 1.37 years of age. Longevity of the European wild hog was determined to be in the 5 to 7 year range. The oldest hog in the study was a 7 years and 7 months old female.

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