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Deer of the Southwest

A Complete Guide to the Natural History, Biology, and Management of Southwestern Mule Deer and White

By Jim Heffelfinger

Publication Year: 2006

“It’s the right time for a book on deer of the Southwest. Jim Heffelfinger has crammed a tremendous amount of information into this book. The test is not in scientific style as this may be a deterrent to many readers, but he cites source information so that anyone interested can review the original articles and draw their own conclusions. I found the book outstanding because of the width of coverage and the readability.”--Dr. Wendell Swank, former Texas A&M University Wildlife professor, former director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and author of the book The Mule Deer in Arizona Chaparrel (1958)

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Front Matter

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pp. xi-xii


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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. xv-xviii

Deer have long been the most popular big game animal in the Southwest. They were an important source of protein for Native Americans, and later served as an important staple for the residents of mining camps and military forts, and other early settlers who came west to carve an existence out of the dusty Southwest. ...

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pp. xix-xx

This book would not have been possible without the contributions of many people. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to numerous wildlife biologists, researchers, and assistants; behind their polished final reports are many frustrating and difficult hours afield. Bob Miles and George Andrejko (Arizona ...

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Chapter 1. Southwestern Dear

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pp. 24-45

Taxonomy is simply the process of naming, describing, and organizing plants and animals into categories based on similarities and differences. These categories indicate evolutionary relationships because similar animals generally have common ancestors. This structured system of classification helps scientists and biologists discuss relationships among animals. ...

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Chapter 2. Historical Perspective: Origins and Evolution of Deer

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pp. 25-55

The earliest hoofed animals with an even number of toes (artiodactyls) appeared in the fossil record during the Eocene Epoch, 34–56 million years ago. Rabbit-sized ungulate ancestors, such as Diacodexis and others in the family Dichobunidae, were distributed throughout North Ameri- can and Eurasia (Romer 1966). Diacodexis possessed a unique ankle bone, called ...

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Chapter 3. Physical Characteristics: Body Weight

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pp. 56-76

Deer weights have been reported in a variety of ways. Terms like field dressed, eviscerated, hog dressed, gutted, and live weight make it difficult to meaningfully evaluate what people mean when they talk about weights. Live weight, as the term implies, is what the animal weighs as a live animal, or “on the hoof.” Hog dressed refers to the removal of all internal organs, as is usually ...

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Chapter 4. Antlers

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pp. 77-96

Humans have been intrigued by antlers since the beginning of time. Although valuable to early man as tools, they undoubtedly elicited the same admiration and curiosity they do today. What factors affect antler growth? How did antlers evolve? Do genetic factors or injuries play a more important role in the occurrence of nontypical antlers? The questions are infinite, but ...

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Chapter 5. Diet and Water Requirements: Important Southwestern Deer Foods

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pp. 97-125

Any discussion of deer diets must begin with a look at the main food items. Pictured in this section are a few important plants in the diet of southwestern deer (Figs. 27–38). . . . Kufield et al. (1973) summarized 99 studies of mule deer diet and reported that 788 different species of plants were eaten by mule deer. Despite the abundance of diet ...

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Chapter 6. Density, Home Range, and Movements: Density

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pp. 126-142

Deer density is defined as the number of deer per unit area at a point in time, such as 12 deer per square mile (mi2) in June. This sounds straight-forward: survey a square mile completely with a helicopter, count all the deer, and you have it. Unfortunately, the situation is not that simple. If deer were evenly distributed throughout the habitat, if all habitat looked the same, if ...

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Chapter 7. Reproduction: Rutting behavior

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pp. 143-164

The drive of self-perpetuation is a powerful force in nature that shapes the breeding behavior of every species. Individuals benefit from having the healthiest mate to help produce their offspring because this assures that their own genes have the best chance of persisting in the future. This drive has given rise to an interesting repertoire of rutting behavior in deer. Although whitetails ...

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Chapter 8. Mortality

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pp. 165-204

Deer populations increase or decrease depending on the sometimes delicate relationship between reproduction and mortality. Just as recruitment is expressed as a rate or ratio (fawns:doe; see chapter 7), so is mortality—usually as the percentage dying per year (annual mortality rate). The annual mortality rate of a deer population can be estimated in several ways. The ...

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Chapter 9. Deer Management: Management Authority

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pp. 205-240

There is sometimes considerable confusion about the function and purpose of all the different natural resource agencies. The National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are all federal agencies and are collectively called “land management agencies,” because they are responsible for managing the land-based resources (timber, ...

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pp. 241-244

Everyone enjoys seeing deer and deer sign when enjoying the outdoors. A camping, hiking, or hunting trip is much more enjoyable when people can tell others how many deer they saw. For many people, deer are the embodiment of nature itself. This popularity among people engaging in all forms of outdoor recreation creates a broad base of public interest in the status of deer ...


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pp. 245-248

Literature Cited

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pp. 249-275


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pp. 277-282


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pp. 283-290

E-ISBN-13: 9781603445337
E-ISBN-10: 1603445331
Print-ISBN-13: 9781585445158
Print-ISBN-10: 1585445150

Page Count: 204
Illustrations: 12 color photos. 28 b&w photos. 5 line art. 3 maps. 19 tables. 3 graphs.
Publication Year: 2006