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Old 08-27-2019, 05:50 PM   #1
donpablo
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Question Species Vs Subspecies

As technology advances we're learning (through genetic testing) that many of the different species may have been incorrectly categorized. For example, genetic testing suggests that the Brown Bear, Kodiak and Grizzly Bear are all the same species. Genetic testing also suggests that Red Wolves are actually Coyote/Gray Wolf hybrids (there are no distinct "red wolf" genetics). And even after looking it up I'm still not even sure what conditions must be met before an animal can be considered a subspecies. Often times you'll find "subspecies" that are likely genetically indistinguishable from the rest of the species.

That being said, I was looking at the SCI's categories for deer. They recognize 14 (assuming I counted correctly) different types of whitetail deer. Now I understand that any person who hunts legally has the right to categorize animals however they see fit. But I'm curious if the opinions on here might approach a consensus. Where would you draw the line in terms of differentiating species/subspecies? I know that for some species like the brown bear and the caribou we've been differentiating so long based on geography and characteristics that it's something we've come to accept as normal. But as technology advances, should we consider less categories?

And for those biologists chiming in, don't be afraid to cite your credentials.
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:35 PM   #2
diamond10x
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Iím fine with categorizing species into smaller sets of subspecies. Just means more places and more species for me to pursue in my hunting and fishing adventures
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Old 08-28-2019, 11:56 AM   #3
donpablo
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Oscar, you're an SCI guy. What's your take on it? I could see how it could make some slams that are more realistic for the working man. Of course if you're a Tom Miranda fan, you can just shoot for the deer slam he made up. Lol.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:10 PM   #4
mudkat
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I definitely think it should go by different categories or regions. The game are different look at how different hill country whitetails are from just even east texas deer or south texas deer and not even counting the northern deer that are up to twice as big as our texas deer are in body size
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:16 PM   #5
BuckSmasher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donpablo View Post
But I'm curious if the opinions on here might approach a consensus.
I can tell you the answer to that is most likely no. LOL


I am ok with the oxford dictionary defintion, "a taxonomic category that ranks below species, usually a fairly permanent geographically isolated race. Subspecies are designated by a Latin trinomial, e.g., (in zoology) Ursus arctos horribilis or (in botany) Beta vulgaris subsp. crassa.


Obviously a whitetail in Belize is different from a whitetail in Alberta. Just an FYI this is a contentious subject that there aren't any clear answers on. Your Red Wolf example is fraught with nuance. A pug is genetically a wolf by the classical idea of a species being a population of living things being able to interbreed and produce genetically viable offspring. Similarly, so can a coyote. Coyotes and wolves are different enough ecologically to coexist as separate distinct populations in the same geographic area despite the fact that they can breed and have viable offspring.

As far as hunting goes, I think the SCI break down looks good. That is just an opinion. I don't really care. If I go hunt a Texas hill country whitetail I am not going to expect the same trophy quality I would if I booked a hunt in central Wisconsin.

Edit: I have never held a job being paid to be a biologist, nor do I have an advanced degree in the subject. I did graduate with a B.S. Degree in Biology meeting the requirements to declare a specialization in Ecology.

Last edited by BuckSmasher; 08-28-2019 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:38 PM   #6
batmaninja
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So, silver labs. Aren' t really labs?
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Old 08-28-2019, 12:38 PM   #7
meltingfeather
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lol @ consensus on TBH

no is the answer no matter the context

trying to apply some human conceived organization system to nature is going to have major shortcomings no matter how you slice it... and there are disagreements among those who know the most about it about the "more correct" way to categorize things.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:30 PM   #8
WItoTX
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The difference in bears is geography, what they eat, how they hunt, and their respective size. I suspect you give those same bears 10,000 years of evolution, and they will all look very different. I have no problem calling them different, because they are very different, even if the genetics are the same based on DNA. The same works for turkeys.

No, we should not consider less categories. If anything, I would like to see more. An Iowa buck is very different from a Texas buck, which is way different from an Alberta buck. If I tell someone I shot an Iowa buck, they immediately have a picture of a corn fed monster. If I say a Montana buck, a person automatically thinks probably a smaller rack and bigger body. It then allows you to decide if it's actually huge, or just normal without having to explain every dimension of the headgear, or amount of meat.
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Old 08-28-2019, 01:36 PM   #9
Pushbutton2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batmaninja View Post
So, silver labs. Aren' t really labs?
There no more a lab than a labradoodle.. :-)

Here's my crew.
Well 1/2 of it now .

The black lab is what's left. He's 13
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Old 08-28-2019, 05:26 PM   #10
donpablo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckSmasher View Post
I can tell you the answer to that is most likely no. LOL
Quote:
Originally Posted by meltingfeather View Post
lol @ consensus on TBH

no is the answer no matter the context
LOL. That's true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuckSmasher View Post
I am ok with the oxford dictionary defintion, "a taxonomic category that ranks below species, usually a fairly permanent geographically isolated race. Subspecies are designated by a Latin trinomial, e.g., (in zoology) Ursus arctos horribilis or (in botany) Beta vulgaris subsp. crassa.


Obviously a whitetail in Belize is different from a whitetail in Alberta. Just an FYI this is a contentious subject that there aren't any clear answers on. Your Red Wolf example is fraught with nuance. A pug is genetically a wolf by the classical idea of a species being a population of living things being able to interbreed and produce genetically viable offspring. Similarly, so can a coyote. Coyotes and wolves are different enough ecologically to coexist as separate distinct populations in the same geographic area despite the fact that they can breed and have viable offspring.

As far as hunting goes, I think the SCI break down looks good. That is just an opinion. I don't really care. If I go hunt a Texas hill country whitetail I am not going to expect the same trophy quality I would if I booked a hunt in central Wisconsin.

Edit: I have never held a job being paid to be a biologist, nor do I have an advanced degree in the subject. I did graduate with a B.S. Degree in Biology meeting the requirements to declare a specialization in Ecology.
Thank you for giving a more informed opinion than most of us could offer. But I wonder then if a follow up question is in order. Should ESA designations be given to sub-species? I would think no, that rather the state biologists should be able to manage sub-species without the interference of the fed govt. Otherwise I could imagine them declaring the Carmen Mountain Whitetail threatened and take away TPWD's ability to manage the herd.
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:05 PM   #11
BuckSmasher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donpablo View Post
LOL. That's true.



Thank you for giving a more informed opinion than most of us could offer. But I wonder then if a follow up question is in order. Should ESA designations be given to sub-species? I would think no, that rather the state biologists should be able to manage sub-species without the interference of the fed govt. Otherwise I could imagine them declaring the Carmen Mountain Whitetail threatened and take away TPWD's ability to manage the herd.
Well, thank you, but for the most part this is an opinion and I am not advocating my opinion is more valid than anyone elses (except that it is! lol)

Ahhh thats the million dollar question! Much more hair on that issue than what I would consider a subspecies for hunting purposes. I don't have a blanket opinion on that. I think it would have to be an individual evaluation.
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Old 08-28-2019, 06:24 PM   #12
RattlesnakeDan
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I was told many years ago there are at least 26 subspecies of whitetail deer. I only recognize the 2 most popular ones...still alive and the ones in the freezer.
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