Kerr WMA: Deer Research Projects

Heritability Study: 1986-1990 (483 deer, 531 sets of antlers)

Whitetail Antler Whitetail Antler

In 1986, a study was begun to determine the heritability of selected antler traits in white-tailed deer. Only yearling deer were used as brood bucks. All fawns were weaned in October. Heritability estimates were analyzed by three different statistical methods. It was determined from this study that antler traits are highly heritable. Results of this study are published in the scientific journal Heredity. In 1997, a fourth statistical method was used to analyze the original data set using an animal model and MTDFREML software. Standard errors were very large and no statistical conclusions could be drawn. Results of this fourth analysis are published in a TPWD paper entitled Genetic and Environmental Parameters for Antler Development Traits in White-tailed Deer Using an Animal Model by S. D. Lukefahr. (Final Report On Interagency Contract No. 386-0692). Based on phenotypic observations, heritability is considered to be moderately to highly heritable.