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UW Ecologist Wins Award for Study of How Hunting Affects Horn, Antler Size in Trophy Big Game

November 14, 2016
two men with tranquilized moose in snow
UW ecologist Kevin Monteith, left, and Ryan Long, assistant professor at the University of Idaho, pose with a moose captured in Sublette County as part of a wildlife research project in which they were involved. (Gary Fralick Photo)

University of Wyoming ecologist Kevin Monteith is a recipient, along with five co-authors, of a 2016 Wildlife Publication Award from The Wildlife Society for a study analyzing trends in horn and antler sizes of trophy big game species in North America.

Monteith received the award at The Wildlife Society’s annual conference Oct. 17 in Raleigh, N.C. The organization gives just four such awards nationally each year to recognize excellence in scientific literature of wildlife biology and management.

For the winning study, Monteith and five co-authors analyzed more than a century’s worth of data on trophy animals recorded by the Boone and Crockett Club throughout North America. Horn and antler sizes in several big game species decreased slightly, but significantly over much of the last century. The researchers determined that harvest intensity directed at older animals, which shifted age structures toward younger, smaller males, best explained the declines in horn and antler sizes, rather than genetic-based reductions in size.

The analysis of the Boone and Crockett Club data was the first of its kind, and the findings have implications for understanding the role of harvest management in structuring big game populations. The study, “Effects of Harvest, Culture, and Climate on Trends in Size of Horn-Like Structures in Trophy Ungulates,” was published in 2013 in “Wildlife Monographs,” a publication of The Wildlife Society.

Monteith is an assistant professor of natural resource science at the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, with a joint appointment in the Wyoming Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit in the UW Department of Zoology and Physiology.

The Wildlife Society is a 75-year-old international organization with nearly 10,000 members. Since 1940, the organization has given out annual publication awards to recognize excellence in scientific research, originality of thought and high scholastic standard. Previous awards have gone to the likes of Jane Goodall, Edward O. Wilson, George B. Schaller, Adolph and Olaus Murie, and Rosemary and Peter Grant, all acclaimed wildlife researchers and authors. Monteith also won the award in 2015 for a monograph he and six co-authors wrote about mule deer nutrition.

For more information, visit The Wildlife Society website at wildlife.org/wildlife-publication-awards, or contact Emilene Ostlind, Haub School communications coordinator, at (307) 766-2604 or emilene@uwyo.edu.


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