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.

mockscrape

Signpost Secrets II: Revealing the Mysteries of Whitetail Scrapes

As I discussed in my previous “Whitetail Behavior” blog, white-tailed deer rely heavily on scent-marking at antler rubs and scrapes, commonly referred to as signposts, to communicate information of social significance, especially during the breeding season. There’s good evidence deer can communicate individual identity, dominance rank, physical condition, breeding status and other bits of...

fawning

The Whitetail’s Secret Weapon: Birth Timing

By John J. Ozoga, Deer & Deer Hunting Contributor The whitetails’ reproductive cycle is geared to giving birth when conditions are best for newborn fawn survival. As you progress northward in the whitetail’s geographic range, a greater percentage of the fawns will be born during a relatively brief period in late May and early...

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...

deerfood

Food Facts: Secrets of a Whitetail’s Stomach

As winter wanes, hunters everywhere worry about deer finding quality nutrition before natural foods and agricultural crops become abundant. Here, courtesy of John J. Ozoga’s insights in Deer & Deer Hunting, is some insight into how the whitetail’s amazing digestive system adapts. Like other ruminants, whitetails possess a four-compartment stomach (rumen, reticulum, omassum and...

Bergmann

How Bergmann’s Rule Helps Northern Whitetails Survive

Although some subspecies of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) might differ only in subtle facial, body and tail markings and colorations, others might differ greatly in body size. The largest of 38 subspecies include the northern woodland (borealis), Dakota (dacotensis) and northwest (ochrorous) whitetails, which inhabit the northern United States and Canada. These deer stand...

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...

Deer in Snow NPSphoto

Do Deer Move Better in Frigid Weather or Wait?

We had a little discussion going during our Mossberg-Swarovski hunting trip at Tall Tine Outfitters in Kansas about whether deer move more or less when temperatures are down around single digits and the wind is howling. The weather affects humans more than animals, of course, at least to a certain point. Even with good...

small fawn

How You Can Help Minimize Fawn Mortality

As with most mammals, white-tailed deer tend to produce more young than can be expected to survive. Although the reasons vary regionally, a high proportion of fawns born each year fail to survive to weaning age. In some cases, formerly overabundant deer populations have stabilized, if not declined, principally because of recent increases in...

Is a moonlit night more dangerous for animals? Depends on what you are. (Photo: NASA)

Death by Moonlight? Not Always True

Is moonlight dangerous? It depends on what you are, according to a study published online recently in the Journal of Animal Ecology. “Ecologists have long viewed the darkness of a moonless night as a protective blanket for nocturnal prey species,” said Laura Prugh, a wildlife biologist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In the...