White Tailed Deer

White Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer are a very majestic and beautiful animal. They have habit in most wooded areas of the United States and if you walk quietly through the woods, there’s a good chance you’ll see one. More often than not, deer will spot you before you spot them. So a glimpse of a fleeing white tail is usually all that we get to see.

Once white-tailed deer establish their domain, they rarely if ever will leave it even if faced with starvation. The life expectancy of deer in the wild is approximately 11 years, although many meet their demise sooner through man’s actions and some in captivity have been known to live as long as 20 years.

Deer have a tremendous sense of hearing and smell, and can often detect danger (i.e. YOU) and move before you ever get close. Their sense of sight, however, is not as keen. While their eyes are on the sides of their head and allow them to see 310 degrees, deer can’t focus on objects far away that clearly, so they depend on their detection of movement. I’ve sat upwind of deer as they walked right down the trail past me without getting spooked.

White-tailed deer are described as such because of the bright white fur under their tails. If they sense danger their tails will go up, warning the others of the threat. A fawn bleat is the noise that a baby deer (fawn) makes when in trouble and will usually attract the doe (their Mom).

White tail deer are herbivores. They eat grass, leaves, stems, berries, herbs, acorns, mushrooms, wild fruit and crops including corn and soy beans. You can see signs of deer when there’s a noticeable browse line 4-6 feet high. Deer will usually devour shrubs and saplings under this height. Other deer signs aside from their excrement, are small rubs on trees marking a buck’s territory, their tracks, and a buck’s scrape (hoof scrapes on the ground).

Deer’s mating season in from October to January and is referred to as the “Rut”. Bucks can become a little out of sorts during this time and if you spot them in the woods, they often times have their nose to the ground pursuing a doe. Bucks also become territorial during this time and may lock antlers with other bucks that challenge their turf.

The babies (fawn) are usually born between March and April and have a spotted coat. Fawn are also nearly odorless which protects them from predators. They will remain with the doe for 1-2 years before setting out on their own.

White-tailed deer are a sight to see in the woods. It’s amazing how quietly they can move! And if you see one, chances are good that they sensed you first. If you want to see one, walk quietly, slowly, and take plenty of breaks standing still.

Happy hiking!