Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Why would researchers not collect the most accurate age data from a study animal if the opportunity presents itself and the information is potentially relevant? Some studies examined aspects of deer ecology unlikely to be influenced by animal age, and some occurred in southern latitudes where cementum aging appears unreliable. However, not all of the studies fit that profile and 4 of those examined mortality and survival, phenomena directly influenced by age. Three of these aged deer by tooth replacement and wear (Severinghaus 1949), apparently accepting less accurate age data than that potentially available from cementum annuli (Erickson et al. 1970, Gilbert and Stolt 1970). Possibly the researchers considered canine extraction too difficult and time-consuming, or perhaps they were unaware of the technique. My search for information on tooth extraction in ungulates in 3 bibliographic sources produced only Bergerud and Russell's (1966) paper in the Journal of Wildlife Management, a veterinary dentistry book (Wiggs and Lobprise 1997), and 12 papers in the veterinary literature, most only tangential to the topic. Thus, it would not be surprising if wildlife biologists were unfamiliar with tooth extraction from live animals. Herein, I describe incisor and canine extraction from live-captured white-tailed deer and outline a quick, simple procedure that enhances the results and interpretations from long-term studies.