Date of Award
Master of Science
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
Michael R. Pelton
Ralph W. Dimmick, George M. Merriman
This study was based on data collected from six wildlife management areas (WMA's) in Tennessee. Information on fat from the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginanus) was obtained through the analysis of jawbones and femurs collected during the period of December, 1969 to December, 1971. Fat from the tissue of the femur (FMT) was found to be a poor standard with which to verify that the fat in the tissue of the jawbone (JCT) was an indicator of condition. Fat from the tissue of the jawbone cavity was found to separate into more distinguishable condition classes than was FMT fat. Data indicated that JCT fat was utilized prior to the utilization of FMT fat. Percent JCT fat was found to vary between the right and left jawbones of the same animal. Animals 2 1/2 years or older had much less variation between the JCT fat levels of the right and left jaw bone than did animals 11/2 years or less. Age, sex, and date of collection were found to affect JCT fat levels. Percent JCT fat increased from the fawn age class up to and including the 3 1/2 age class. Percent JCT fat remained relatively stable in all age classes above 31/2 years. Females were found to have a percent JCT fat that was higher than the percent JCT fat of males. Fat in the tissue of the jawbone cavity increased during the months of October, November, and early December, and decreased in late December and early January. Mean JCT fat levels of the deer on four of the WMA's were found to be closely grouped and high. The deer herd on the Natchez Trace WMA had a JCT fat level that was lower than the JCT fat levels of the other areas. The JCT fat level of the deer herd on the Tellico WMA could not be determined due to inadequate sampling. Fat from the tissue of the jawbone cavity was shown to be a fat reserve, and therefore, could be used as an indicator of condition, provided JCT fat's position in the fat utilization and replacement order is known, and provided that JCT fat is not completely utilized or replaced.
Nichols, Robert Gordon, "Tissue fat of the jawbone cavity as an indicator of condition of the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginanus) in Tennessee. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1972.