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Sexual Attraction in White-Tailed Deer

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Abstract

We conducted two experiments to determine the source of sexually attractive odors in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). In Experiment 1, estrous, midcycle, and anestrous doe urines, buck urine, a commercial deer lure, and sterile saline were tested to determine their attractiveness to free-ranging deer on study areas in Georgia and Florida. All urine samples were obtained directly from the bladder. A randomized incomplete block design with paired 1 m2 tracking pits (10-m apart) was used. Deer visitation rates to test areas were highest for buck urine but were not statistically different for the compounds tested (P<0.05). In Experiment 2, bladder urine or vaginal secretions from estrous and midcycle females and a control were applied to ovariectomized females. Attractiveness to an epididymectomized, teaser male was determined by recording the number of approaches and time associated with each doe. With both measures, attractiveness of estrous vaginal secretions was significantly greater than the control (P<0.03). Neither midcycle vaginal secretions, midcycle urine, nor estrous urine elicited significantly more responses than the control. Our data indicate that sexually attractive odors in female white-tailed deer originate in the reproductive tract. The possibility that these odors may become associated with voided urine during urination must be explored.

Key words

  • Attractant
  • estrus
  • pheromone
  • reproduction
  • urine
  • white-tailed deer

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© 1992 Springer-Verlag New York, Inc.

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Whitney, M.D., Forster, D.L., Miller, K.V., Marchinton, R.L. (1992). Sexual Attraction in White-Tailed Deer. In: Brown, R.D. (eds) The Biology of Deer. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-2782-3_69

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-2782-3_69

  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4612-7667-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4612-2782-3

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive