The aim of this study was to assess changes in parameters (body weight, fat stores, antler weight, serum creatinine level) describing the condition of individual roe deer males (Capreolus capreolus) in subsequent months of the hunting season. The idea was if the current timing of the buck hunting season affects the quality of specimens obtained from the population, which may result in distorting its reproduction-related processes. The study included 443 carcasses of bucks harvested in the Lublin region (Central Poland) from 2006 to 2011. The average carcass weight in May and June was significantly higher than in the other months. Perirenal fat weight and the kidney fat index (KFI) decreased with the progression of the hunting season. With regard to the average level of serum creatinine in blood, there was no definite trend in the variation of this parameter during the hunting season. However, a significantly higher average antler weight was observed in May compared to June. The shooting of a large number of bucks in the first weeks of the hunting season may cause the elimination of the best individuals in the habitat, which have established and maintained their territory and are fully prepared for reproduction. This results in a complete disruption of the social structure of the local deer population. A solution to this problem could be uniform distribution of volume harvested during the whole hunting season or postponing the hunting season for bucks until September, when the estrus season has finished, and the strongest males have passed on their valuable genes to the population.
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Vol. 63 • No. 2