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Keywords:

  • antler growth;
  • antler size;
  • Odocoileus virginianus;
  • white-tailed deer

ABSTRACT  Debate within the popular and technical literature regarding predictability of antler size at maturity based on 1.5-year antler size in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) has led to confusion and uncertainty within constituent groups. Koerth and Kroll (2008) provided measures of age-related antler development using recaptures of known-age males from 12 deer populations in southern Texas. Several design and analysis issues reduce the scope and validity of their conclusion that amount of growth in the first set of antlers was a poor predictor of antler growth at maturity. Although unstated, the statistical hypothesis they tested did not coincide with their specific conclusions. Using a simulation, we show that their methods were susceptible to measurement bias. Their results are applicable only to populations with similar culling and management programs. Additionally, we provide recommendations for future research projects that evaluate predictability of antler size at maturity based on antler size at younger ages.