Body weight of hinds as a stability factor in red deer (Cervus elaphus, L.) population
During the hunting season 2007/2008 on the government hunting-ground XIV/9 Podunavlje-Podravlje (Danube area, Croatia), 67 hinds were examined. We have identified net weight – weight of the body in cold-storage, gross weight – calculating method, pregnancy, number and sex of the fetuses, as well as body weight and length of the fetus. The overall pregnancy rate was 75% (n=67). Among them 48% of the yearlings (n=19) were pregnant with 65,88 kg average net weight, however those of non pregnant weighted 51.60 kg respectively. 85% of the three-year old or older hinds was fecundated, and their average net body weight was 71.07 kg, whereas for the unfecundated hinds the body weight averaged to 69 kg. From October to December we have measured the weight and length of the fetuses, and this data was used to predict the calving date, all of which were in the period between the early April till late May. Fecundation and calving for the two-year-old hinds were more aligned, so they were all supposed to calve until April 20th of the following year, whereas for the three-year-old or older hinds the estimated time span for calving spread from the early April till late May. Sustainability of economy and survival of the population depend mostly on the success of the hinds during their lifetime.