The fact that deer are able to still adapt to man’s encroachment on their natural habitat and several other modern practices that have somehow impacted on their natural cycle has made the white-tailed deer
Native Americans held the belief that somehow the movements of deer were affected by the wind, moon and rain, and they aren’t very far from the truth. Present research has revealed that indeed moon phases, temperature and barometric pressure all play a role in the movement of deer. Although, the prominent factors remain the tilt of the earth’s axis and daylight – both of which are major trigger for seasons and the annular cycle of antler growth, mating and rutting. All of which are crucial white-tail deer characteristics.
Matriarchal society is a prominent white-tail deer characteristic and bucks and does live apart with the exception of the start of the breeding cycle. Bucks and does will usually remain together for most parts of winter but once the season is over, they both part ways and go back to their solitary lives. Bucks will typically not lead a herd and would instead allow an old doe take charge of proceedings which is commonly in a habitual pattern and along a certain path for several days. Although the routes may be changed every now and then due to weather conditions, food, or external factors such as man’s hunting or poaching activity.
White-tail deer biology behavior is heavily reliant on food sources and their habitat. During the harsh winters or when food is in short supply, they can go to great lengths to feed and this can entail going to golf courses, invading city parks or private gardens. The reverse is the case when food is abundant, whitetails will commonly restrict their movement to a limited land area – around a square mile. However, rutting bucks may not conform to this pattern and may cover more ground in search of available does. Whitetails do not often venture far from where they are raised. The basic white-tail deer characteristic is to remain close to the area where they were born for the majority of their lives. They commonly spend most of their lives on forested lands and along the bushy areas around northern Mexico, southern U.S and the southern edge of the coniferous forests in Canada.
Deer are nocturnal in nature – preferring to move in the dark but not exclusively. Asides from the breeding season, their sole motivation to move is food. Deer need to maintain a healthy weight, and to do this they require at least 10 t0 12 pounds of food every day. Usually, they would feed around 4:30pm daily, and when food is plenty they can replenish their stomachs in thirty minutes, although with variety comes a need to be very picky. This behavior often means that they move slower than usual nibbling on only the most desirable and tender shoots of tender plants and herbs.
The typical diet of a whitetail will heavily depend on the area and season of their habitat in New Jersey. Deer have a long list of preferred food choices that range from white acorns, dogwood, red maple, oak, apples, hemlock, white cedar, willow, pine trees and winter green. Whitetails also have a thing for cultivated food as they can commonly be spotted in fields of soybeans, corn, cabbage, sweet potatoes, rye and alfalfa.
Once a deer has had enough for its belly, they find a cozy spot where they can chew their cud. Since this period is often during sunset, they stay there till the dawn of the next day where they proceed to eat from anywhere around 5:30am till 7am. Soon after which they return to their bedding to spend most of the day chewing their cud. Deer often prefer to bed down on ridges for most parts of the day. This is because as the sun heats the earth, the heat carries the scent of everything approaching their hidden location. A common white-tail deer characteristic is to place a stand between their food sources and bedding areas. This trait is often effectual when combined with accurate pre-season scouting.
A widespread misconception about whitetails is that they tend to stray to the next county whenever they are startled. Conversely, once startled, they will stop between sprints and check to see if the danger is still in sight. Once they confirm that they are no longer being followed, they often circle back to their choice bedding area. Does exhibit this habit with precision, while bucks are often swayed by the smell of the winds, like a doe in estrus. Bucks often lose most of their antlers in December and January. Between January and April, a buck will often have pedicels on its head where new antlers will spring from. For most parts of the summer, the antlers will sprout rapidly, enclosed in a connection of blood vessels known as “velvet.” Bucks are often very careful around this period of these delicate growth, and they often live a calm and solitary life till fall. By September, the antlers have reached a mature stage and the blood vessels start to give way once they begin to dry.
“White-tailed deer remain the most abundant animal in the whole of New-Jersey”
Around September – the shedding period – bucks look for young saplings to rub against their antlers to speed up the process. During this time, the buck strengthens their neck muscles which is often filled with engorged blood. As they frantically battle to get rid of their antlers, in what can be referred to as battle practice, they train themselves to fight any rival. Remember, a buck in rut fears no evil. If you go scouting unarmed in the fall, keep in mind that a buck will not shy away from a heated duel. This is the one time in the year when a deer is said to pose a serious threat to man.
Bucks make small imprints in the dirt called a scrape when they ejaculate or urinate. Once they make the scrape, they coat themselves with it and off they go. This White-tail deer biology behavior is often perpetuated to find an interested doe for mating. Does begin their estrous cycle around November, although this date can vary based on habitat and weather. The heat cycle usually lasts for around 30 hours and if a doe hasn’t bred after that period, she will experience another heat cycle after 28 days. Sometimes this process can repeat itself thrice or more before she conceives – accounting for the plenty off-season fawns.
Does will often give up themselves easily to mate with different bucks, but bucks aren’t very keen on sharing spouses. During this period, bucks seem to enjoy both the action and watching the action in a technique known as Rattling. Deer can live for as long as eight years. Conversely, bucks are killed within a couple of years. its hard to find matured bucks around the age of 4 to 5, as they account for only 4 percent of the entire deer population.
After a gestation period of 200 to 205 days, fawns arrive. Initially, Does will deliver a single fawn and consequently twins. Mother does are introverted and spend most of the summer looking after their young.