About White-tailed Deers

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Whitetail Deer Hunting

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer found throughout most of the continental United States, southern Canada, Mexico, Central America and northern portions of South America as far south as Peru. As a result of introductions, white-tailed deer are found also in some areas of northern Europe such as Finland. White-tailed deer are generalists and can adapt to a wide variety of habitats. Although most often thought of as forest animals depending on relatively small openings and edges, white-tailed deer can equally adapt themselves to life in more open savanna and even sage communities.

The deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm when raising the tail during escape. The male (also known as a buck) usually weighs from 130 to 220 pounds (60 to 100 kg) but, in rare cases, animals in excess of 350 pounds (160 kg) have been recorded. The female (doe) usually weighs from 90 to 130 pounds (40 to 60 kg), but some can weigh as much as 165 to 175 pounds (75 or 80 kg). The deer’s coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer turning into a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. Males one year of age or older have antlers, which begin to grow in early spring, covered with a highly vascularised tissue known as velvet.

Females enter estrus, colloquially called the rut, in the fall, normally in late October or early November, triggered mainly by declining photoperiod. Sexual maturation of females depends on population density. Females can mature in their first year, although this is unusual and would occur only at very low population levels. Most females mature at one or, sometimes, two years of age. Males compete for the opportunity of breeding with females. Infighting amongst males settles a domination hierarchy. Bucks try to copulate with as many female deer as possible, while losing physical condition because they scarcely eat or rest all through the rut. Female deer give birth to one, two or even three dotted young called fawns in mid to late spring, usually in May or June. The fawns lose the spots through their first summer and will weigh up from 44 to 77 pounds (about 20 to 35 kg) by the first winter. The buck provides no assistance to the female in caring for the fawn(s).

White-tailed deer are active constantly, but less through the daylight hours. Often, whitetails are on the move at dawn and at dusk. Hearing, smell and sight are finely developed as any hunter can confirm. Independently these senses are imposing; in a blend they go a very long way in serving the deer in their battle for survival. Hearing is mainly used to discover the presence of predators and other creatures, including humans, nearby. Smell is used for this purpose too as well as to help the deer choose food. The whitetail’s eyes are located to the side of the head letting it to see nearly all the way around its body. White-tailed deer favor an area with varied food and cover forms, counting mixed-aged wood stands. Ideal habitat will offer a combination of woodland, brush land and crops in blocks of one - two square miles.

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