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“Bam…. Bam…. Bam…. dang it, Charlie, I missed him.” This is often what people think of when they think of white-tailed deer, also known scientifically as Odocoileus Virginianus. White-tailed deer have played a very important role in the history of our country. Whitetails were used widely by the Native Americans for both food and clothing and also by early settlers. White-tailed deer are very adaptable and able to survive through many kinds of harsh weather conditions.
White-tailed deer are one of the best known and most easily recognized large mammals. Mature whitetails grow to about 3 – 3 ½ feet tall at the shoulders and approximately 4 ½ -6 ¾ feet in length. Mature male whitetails grow to be between 200-300 pounds and females to 70-200 pounds. The males, or “bucks”, have antlers consisting of one main beam with minor branches. These antlers are shed from January to March and begin to grow again in April or May. During late summer and early fall, the skin on the antlers, called velvet, begins to deteriorate. The velvet is very itchy and the deer will rub its antlers on anything possible just to stop the horrible itch. The age of a whitetail cannot be told by the size of the antlers or number of points, for antler development is determined by nutrition, not age. Both the male and the females fur changes colors throughout the year. In the winter the fur is a grayish color and a reddish color during the summer. At birth, fawns have white spots on their fur, but the spots disappear into their grayish fur during the first winter. Whitetails have good eyesight, and excellent hearing. Whitetails depend mainly on their sense of smell to detect danger.
Whitetails can be found in much of North and Central America, and also northern South America. White-tailed deer are able to survive in a variety of terrestrial habitats. From the big woods of Maine all the way to the saw grass ...
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