White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)

Posted by Ricky Mills - September 12, 2013 - Wild Game of the Month - 1 Comment

White-tailed deer are the most common deer in the Western Hemisphere with 39 subspecies of this animal known to exist. Native to the United States (all but 5 states), Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America (as far as Peru). It has been introduced into New Zealand and some countries in Europe such as Finland and the Czech Republic.

 

Figure 1 “Photo” Whitetail deer in nature – The most common deer in the Western Hemisphere and is hunted from Canada to Peru.

 

Adults will be reddish-brown or tan in the summer. Greyish-brown in the winter. White hair on its belly and the front side of its neck. White inside its ears, and around its nose and eyes. And of course, white on the underside of its tail. Fawns will have white spots on a reddish-brown coat, providing  it with excellent camolflage for the first three months of their life.

Bucks will have antlers that are shed and regrown yearly. Antlers will vary in size due to genetics, nutrition, and age of the animal. Antler size is the sign of a trophey whitetail and are prized possesions of hunters.

Adult body weight ranges from 75 to over 300 pounds. Bucks (adult male) are larger than a doe (adult female). Bucks will weigh on average between 130-300 pounds, does typically between 80-200 pounds. White tailed deer in tropical climates tend to be smaller averaging 75-110 pounds.

Statistics:

Nature Status: White-tailed Deer are not endangered. Populations are managed to ensure healthy herds and minimize crop damage.

Natural Predators: Natural predators of adult White-tailed Deer include wolves, cougars, American alligator and Jaguars. Deer fawns will usually be preyed upon by bobcat, lynx, bear and coyote.

Life Span: Average life span is between 4-5 ½ years. White-tailed deer have the potential to live upwards of 15 years in the wild depending upon habitat, and its ability to avoid danger.

Habitat: Typically thought of as a forest animal. They are very adaptive to a wide variety of habitats. Prefer wooded areas with lots of edges adjacent to fields.

Hunting: Early evening/morning hours tend to be the most productive since white-tailed deer are known for nocturnal activity. Hunting during the breeding season offers excellent opportunities on deer due to an increase in daytime activity.

 

Figure 2 “Photo” Kevin Auyer with a Whitetail deer that he harvested in Upstate, New York (USA).

 

Preferred Caliber: .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, 25-06 Remington, .270 Winchester, 30-06 Springfield, 7mm Remington Mag

Rifles: Personal preferences of hunters vary extensively. Bolt actions, shotgun, muzzleloader, lever action, semi-automatic are all common types. 

Shotguns: 12, 16 and 20 gauge shotguns are used in areas that limit the use of a rifle. Shotguns that feature a rifled barrel in combination with a Sabot slug are the best for accuracy up to 100 meters.

Archery: Long, Recurve and Compound Bows with a legal minimum of 30 lb. draw weight. Crossbows for seniors and disabled hunters with a minimum draw weight of 100 lbs. Broadhead with a minimum 7/8 inch cutting diameter.

Optics: High quality optics with a large objective lens to allow for maximum light in the early and late evening shooting hours. Recommended binoculars 8×42 to allow for an increased field of view.

Notes: Breeding (commonly referred to as ”The Rut”) may occur from September to February depending upon location. Trophy size is variable with larger trophies occurring
in the northern climates.

Method: Can be hunted from elevated stands or on the ground using blinds or spot and stalk method. Early morning/evening hunting hours tend to be the most productive.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *