A pioneering genetic study of male deer reproductive success is earning a first-place international honor for a recent doctoral graduate of Mississippi State.
Randall W. "Randy" DeYoung of Kingsville, Texas, a May graduate of the university's department of wildlife and fisheries, recently was honored for a research report he presented at the Wildlife Society's 2004 meeting. The results of his investigation were among 27 reports by international students accepted for judging at the Calgary, Alberta, gathering.
Founded in 1937, the society is a nonprofit scientific and educational association of more than 9,000 active members spread among some 60 countries.
DeYoung's research is groundbreaking, according to the MSU professor with whom he collaborated on the project. "Randy is the first to document reproductive success in wild populations of white-tailed deer,” said Steve Demarais. The results will greatly aid other researchers' understanding of management effectiveness of white-tailed deer populations throughout North America, the wildlife biologist added.
While the reproductive success of a balanced deer herd previously was attributed to a few dominant bucks, DeYoung's investigation indicates that a much larger number of bucks across all age classes are involved in fathering fawns.
"This research has significant implications for those concerned about the effects of ‘trophy hunting,'” Demarais said. "The chances of harming population genetics are much less when there are many bucks involved in breeding.”
DeYoung, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles DeYoung, holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the Texas A&I University and Texas A&M University-Kingsville, respectively. He currently is a post-doctoral research associate at the latter institution.