Selectivity of harvesting differs between local and foreign roe deer hunters: trophy stalkers have the first shot at the right place

Biol Lett. 2006 Dec 22;2(4):632-5. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0533.


Harvesting represents a major source of mortality in many deer populations. The extent to which harvesting is selective for specific traits is important in order to understand contemporary evolutionary processes. In addition, since such data are frequently used in life-history studies, it is important to know the pattern of selectivity as a source of bias. Recently, it was demonstrated that different hunting methods were selected for different weights in red deer (Cervus elaphus), but little insight was offered into why this occurs. In this study, we show that foreign trophy stalkers select for larger antlers when hunting roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) than local hunters, but that close to half of the difference in selectivity was due to foreigners hunting earlier in the season and in locations with larger males. The relationship between antler size and age was nevertheless fairly similar based on whether deer was shot by foreign or local hunters.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Antlers / anatomy & histology
  • Body Size
  • Deer / anatomy & histology
  • Deer / physiology*
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Poland
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Time Factors
  • Travel
  • Trees