White-Tailed Deer - Facts and Information
White Tailed Deer in Late Summer
Range and Habitat
White tailed deer are the smallest members of the North American deer family and are abundant here in Oklahoma. They can be found in Southern Canada and most of the United States except for the far southwest, Alaska and Hawaii. They get their name from the white underside of their tail, which they will raise and “wag” as a warning to the other deer that danger is near.
The white-tailed deer typically inhabit woods, forests and sometimes southern swamplands. They use the woodlands for safety and shelter and will graze in nearby open fields. In the summer, they use the broad leafed trees and for shade and in the winter use coniferous stands such as cedar trees for shelter against the cold.
White -tailed deer will normally stay within a radius of one mile as their home territory. However, during extreme weather conditions, such as droughts, they will roam farther looking for food and or water.
White Tailed Doe
Female deer, called doe, have a reddish-brown coat in spring and summer, which fades to a grayish brown color in fall. The female white tail can range is size from 90 to 200 pounds. In spring, usually around May, you can see does with their new little fawns. Does will usually have between 1 and 3 fawns each spring. It is rare for the does to have three fawns at a time, but twins are fairly common. The fawns will have a reddish-brown coat with white spots, which helps them blend in with their surroundings. The does become very aggressive after they have had their fawns and will chase off anything that comes near, including other deer. Once the fawns become a little older, the doe may let other does travel with them, but still do not let them get close to the fawns. I have seen does fight off large dogs, coyotes and other does that have come too close to their fawns.
White-Tail Buck in Fall
White Tailed Bucks
Male deer, are called bucks, and also have a reddish-brown coat in spring. Male white tail can range is size from 150 - 300 pounds. The bucks will also sport antlers during certain months of the year. Normally the bucks will start growing their antlers in early spring and the antlers will continue to grow until the winter months, at which time they will just fall off. The bucks use their antlers to spar with other bucks during their mating season, or rut, in fall. The bucks antlers are actually made of bone rather than keratin, which horns are made of. The antlers are covered with a skin called velvet while they are growing. As the antlers mature, the deer will rub the velvet off of their antlers by rubbing them against trees. Many hunters track deer by looking for their rubs on trees.
White Tailed Deer Grazing
White tailed deer are herbivorous grazers and live on a diet of leaves, grass, twigs, fruit and berries in spring and summer. They will feed on nuts, corn, acorns and twigs in winter. In spring and summer months, they will also feed on your vegetable and flower gardens. Many people have put up fences to keep the deer out of their gardens, but usually to no avail. White tailed deer can jump a fence “in a single bound”. They can actually jump to a height of about 10 feet and leap about 30 feet at a time. White-tailed deer are mostly nocturnal and graze primarily during hours of dawn and dusk. If they are comfortable with the area, they will occasionaly venture out during daylight hours.
Young White Tailed Buck
Predetors and Life Span
They use their agility and speed to out run their predators. White tailed deer can run at a speed of up to 30 miles an hour. Natural predators of the white tailed deer in Oklahoma are bobcats, coyotes, and the occasional mountain lion. Because of the decline in the deer's natural predators, deer over population can become a problem. This is when they are more likely to eat from your vegetable or flower gardens. If their population overcomes their environment they can starve to death. This is one reason the National Wildlife Department has created a "deer season". This helps to control the deer population. Without it, not only will the deer starve, but disease becomes a problem that can spread to other wildlife. Their natural life span is about 6 years, but in captivity they can live up to 14 years.
Twin White Tailed Fawns in Spring
White tailed deer are primarily nocturnal. They use the cover of darkness to wander out of the woods to eat. You can see them more in the dawn and dusk hours than during the day. During the daylight hours they are normally resting in the shade among trees and thickets in the woods. Their hearing is exceptional as well as their sight. They tend to be nervous animals and will normally run away at the sound or sight of a human. When alarmed they will stomp the ground and "snort" to warn the other deer. As they run, they will raise their tail, showing the white underneath and "wag" it like a warning flag. This also helps the fawns to follow their mothers when fleeing from danger.
I hope you have found this information on the white tailed deer interesting and informative. I also hope this will allow you to appreciate the beauty and grace of this beautiful animal.
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