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Much insight can be derived from records of shot animals. Most researchers using such data assume that their data represents a random sample of a particular demographic class. However, hunters typically select a non-random subset of the population and hunting is, therefore, not a random process. Here, with red deer (Cervus elaphus) hunting data from a ranch in Toledo, Spain, we demonstrate that data collection methods have a significant influence upon the apparent relationship between age and weight. We argue that a failure to correct for such methodological bias may have significant consequences for the interpretation of analyses involving weight or correlated traits such as breeding success, and urge researchers to explore methods to identify and correct for such bias in their data.

Original publication




Journal article


Biol Lett

Publication Date





353 - 356


Age Factors, Animals, Animals, Wild, Breeding, Data Collection, Deer, Selection Bias, Spain, Sports, Weights and Measures