The white-tailed deer was important to the survival both of Native Americans in the eastern woodlands and to the early European settlers in the east. Deer were prized both for their meat and for their hides.
By the close of the 19th century, the population was down to a record low because of the loss of habitat and unregulated hunting. Today, though, the population has rebounded.
The size of the white-tailed varies considerably, depending on its particular subspecies and the food supply in its geographical area.
In general, the height is 3 to 3 1/2 feet. A full-grown buck’s weight may range from 75 to 400 pounds, while the doe’s weight is about two-thirds of that.
The upper body is reddish-brown during warm weather. In the fall, white-tailed deer molt into winter coats of a dark, grayish-brown. The underside of the body and the tail is white.
On bucks, antlers generally emerge during the spring and grow all summer. They are shed in the early spring. The does do not have antlers.
Food and Diet
The white-tailed deer is a browsing animal that feeds on a variety of vegetation, including herbs, twigs, grass, leaves, succulent fruit, mushrooms, and nuts.
An adult deer requires about 6 to 8 pounds of food per hundreds pounds of body weight every day, so the very largest buck might need to eat as much as 32 pounds daily.
A deer typically ranges over an area of 300 to 400 acres in its quest for food, possibly even more than that during the fall, when its food requirements increase to help carry it through the winter.
During the winter, deer tend to forage together in groups of about 25. They’re generally solitary during the rest of the year, although sometimes a few does and their fawns will stay near one another, primarily for protection.
The mating season occurs sometime between November and February, depending on the location. During this period, bucks rub their antlers against saplings to mark their territory, and fights often take place between rival males.