The whitetail deer is considered one of the most sought after of all game animals. They are found in all but a few states in America. They are capable of adapting to many habitats from flat lands to hill country and from warm to extreme cold conditions.
Whitetails eat a wide variety of foods. Many farmland crops such as corn and beans, apples and other fruits, and many grasses, shrubs, and nuts make up the whitetail diet.
They are browsers and often will mow through many types of plants. Their stomachs allow for a speedy consumption of food which is later digested.
The whitetail is known for the white hairs located on the underside of it’s tail. This tail is used as a means of communication. By twitching and flickering the tail, the whitetail will notify other deer of contentment, safety, alarm them of danger, as well as other signals.
Deer have different colored coats depending on the time of the year. During the warm weather months, the coat is a thinly haired reddish brown. While during the colder months, the hair thickens and turns a more grayish brown.
Adult females, called does, average between 90 and 150 pounds. In some areas they can weigh as much as 200 pounds. The adult male deer, called bucks, average 125 to 250 pounds. In some areas they can weigh 300 to 400 pounds.
Male deer grow antlers starting in the spring and continue into late summer. During this time, the antlers are covered in velvet. By September, the velvet begins to fall off revealing the hardened antlers.
Bucks will lose these antlers during late winter months. This process occurs each year with the antlers generally becoming larger with each new growth.
Female deer begin breeding during the months of October, November, and December. They go into estrus, or in heat, during this time period. The males then challenge one another for dominance.
This period is known as the rut or rutting season. The dominate bucks will then breed with the estrus does as often as possible.
Female deer give birth during the spring or early summer. They may have one to three babies known as fawns.
Whitetails produce a variety of sounds. The snort sound occurs when the deer clear their nose to smell. The bleat sound, which is made by fawns and does, is used as a locator call. The grunt sound is used as an attention or aggression sound.
Whitetails have an exceptional sense of smell. They are able to detect and distinguish smells from great distances. They also have good hearing. These two senses are their primary survival tools.
Bucks rub their antlers on trees as territorial markings leaving behind their scent to let other deer know of their presence. They also make scrapes, which is a pawing and clearing of the ground.
Scrapes are used to scent check for estrus does as well as a territorial marking. The doe will urinate in the scrape to let bucks know when they are ready for breeding.