Deer Behavior

Have you ever watched a deer from your stand and wondered, “Why do they do that?” Whitetails are fascinating creatures, and understanding the many facets of their behavior enhances this addicting pursuit. Learn all about deer behavior and biology from the top biologists in the country.

Antler pedicles are unique and can be matched with other shed antlers from the same deer.

Deer Antler Pedicles Are Unique, Like Fingerprints

Growth of antlers in white-tailed deer, along with elk and moose, is one of the most remarkable things in nature. Consider that from the time a deer’s antlers are shed in late winter, within just a couple of months they’re growing again. Hormonal changes spur the entire process, peaking in late summer when the...

White-tailed deer adapt and survive harsh winters in northern latitudes

How Whitetail Deer Survive Incredibly Brutal Winters

When brutal winters roll into northern states deer hunters often wonder if the whitetail population will take a severe hit or if the animals can make it through to spring. Mortality for some is a given, of course, but how do deer and other wildlife manage to get through the frigid season? By John...

Tailtales

8 Messages Deer Send Hunters With Their Tails

When you spot a deer, study its tail. What you observe will help you make smart hunting decisions. Of course, the deer’s body language is important to watch, too. It goes hand in hand in with what the tail is doing. By Tom Carpenter But the tail’s actions are a very visible, clear and...

antlergrowth

The Whitetail’s Annual Miracle: Antler Casting and Regeneration

Editor’s note: Spring is a time of rebirth, and nothing illustrates that like the whitetail’s annual cycle of antler loss and regrowth. Here are some incredible insights into this process courtesy of Deer & Deer Hunting‘s John J. Ozoga. Antler Casting Although the timing of antler growth is quite synchronized by photoperiod, generally starting...

rubz

Rubs: The Whitetail’s Communication Hub

Humans learn by seeing. Deer do, too. When a hunter comes upon a big rub, his heart skips a beat. When a whitetail buck encounters a rub of any size, it has different thoughts. Our excitement has to do with hunting possibilities. A buck’s has to do with identifying who made the rub, because...

Hermaphrodite

Whitetail Freaks Part 2: Hermaphrodites

Here is another bizarre instance of a buck’s genetic wiring gone awry. This lucky hunter shot a truly once-in-a-lifetime deer, but what is it? That’s a good question; one that we can only speculate on when trying to answer it. The photo has been all over the Web, and was recently posted on Facebook...

White-tailed deer use their incredible sense of smell to determine what's around them.

Chemical Signals: The Whitetail’s Communication Key

Popular hunting literature is filled with claims regarding the attractive powers of certain deer lures. “Estrous urine” lures, in particular, are advertised as being packed full of “hormones” and “pheromones,” reputed to be irresistible to a buck in rut. Just what is a so-called pheromone? And what do scientists have to say about this...

Giant buck

Signpost Secrets: Probing the Mysteries of Whitetail Rubs

  Cervids (members of the deer family) living in open country, such as elk and mule deer, rely heavily upon visual displays and vocalizations when communicating information of social significance. In contrast, forest-dwelling white-tailed deer more commonly use glandular secretions and scent-marking, especially in conjunction with antler rubs and ground scrapes, commonly referred to...

response

Dialing Up Big Whitetails: Rattling Response Varies

In experiments, buck response to rattling was greatest during the rut and lowest during pre-rut. However, seasonal response rates varied according to buck age. By the Deer & Deer Hunting staff Young bucks (1½ to 2½ years) were more responsive to rattling during the pre-rut period, whereas middle-aged bucks (3½ and 4½ years) more...

southrut

The Southern Whitetail Rut: Um, When Is That Again?

Throughout much of the whitetail’s range, the rut is fairly synchronous , occurring roughly about early to mid-November. As you move south, things change — sometimes dramatically. There are numerous mitigating factors, including climate, genetics, nutrition, sex ratio and radically different day lengths. By Bob Humphrey, Deer & Deer Hunting contributor One of the...