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.

shedpup

Shed Antlers: Did You Know?

Editor’s note: If you’re a whitetail nut, you’re probably thinking about shed hunting right now. Here are some incredible shed antler insights from the inimitable Charlie Alsheimer’s writings in Deer & Deer Hunting. One of the most incredible things about whitetails is their ability grow a new set of antlers each year and then...

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...

deerdeath

Death in the Whitetail Woods: What Really Kills Deer?

As a tough winter begrudgingly gives way to spring, the subject of whitetail mortality is on the minds of many hunters. Here’s what whitetail behavior expert Charles J. Alsheimer said about that subject a while ago in Deer & Deer Hunting. Whitetails face many potentially fatal hazards. Here are a few. Hunting: Though most...

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...

droptine buck

How Monster Bucks Become Bad Dudes

Let’s take a closer look at what factors cause older, mature bucks — those giant deer we all dream about — to become truly belligerent. By Charles J. Alsheimer In my mind, there are two kinds of white-tailed bucks. Those less than 2½ years old are youngsters and teen-agers, who are trying to find...

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...