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Welcome to the technical sessions schedule for the 2015 SEAFWA Annual Meeting.

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Wednesday, November 4 • 8:40am - 9:00am
Evaluation of Potential for Antler-based Selective-Harvest Regimes to Influence Cohort-Specific Antler Size of Male White-tailed Deer in Florida

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Bradley S. Cohen, University of Georgia; Erin H. Leone, Elina P. Garrison, Cory R. Morea, Steve M. Shea –Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Karl V. Miller, University of Georgia; Michael J. Cherry, Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center; James H. Stickles, James D. Kelly –Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Antler-point restrictions (APRs) intended to increase the mean age of harvested male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) could select against larger-antlered males within each age cohort, resulting smaller antler size of the residual population. To test this hypothesis, we examined if antler-scores within age cohorts differed after APRs were changed to reduce harvest of 1.5-year-old males on 23 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in Florida. These WMAs, which required a legal antlered deer to have at least one antler > 5 inches in length or at least one antler with 2 or more points, all subsequently implemented a more restrictive APR requiring legal males to have at least one antler with 3 or more points. We used generalized linear mixed models of harvest data to assess effects of geographic region, age class, and pre-APR type (5-inch or forked), and the interactions of these variables on gross Boone and Crockett (GBC) scores after implementation of the 3-point APR. Deer not meeting the 3-point criterion prior to the 3-point APR and antlered deer ≥ 1.5 years old during the same year the 3-point APR was implemented were excluded from analysis. The 3-point APR increased protection of the 1.5-year-old age class across regions (p < 0.001). Only on WMAs previously having a 5-inch antler restriction did GBC scores increase post-3-point APR (p = 0.001). To minimize the chance of high-grading, APRs should be evaluated across habitats and on a site-specific basis to optimize protection of target cohorts and harvest of non-target cohorts.

Wednesday November 4, 2015 8:40am - 9:00am EST
Ballroom Salon A

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