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Interesting Facts about White Tailed Deer
Just so you know, Texas white tailed deer are of the Order Artiodactyla: Family Cervidae: Odocoileus virginiamus. Recently released research from around the nation has revealed some interesting facts. Some are nothing an experienced hunter didn’t already know, but it is nice to see it confirmed by research, and can be helpful for the novice hunter.
White tailed deer are considered to be a fairly small sized deer with a typical maximum weight of about 150 pounds, but in rare cases bucks have been recorded weighing as much as 351 pounds. In Minnesota and Ontario there have been bucks recorded that weighed over 400 pounds. The range of whitetails are from Canada to as far south as Peru. They are located widely in the U.S. with the exception of 2 states.
In Texas white tailed deer prefer brushy or wooded country that is suitable to their diet. In most of Texas their general range is in the hardwood areas with the exception of the southeastern portion of Texas where the principal wooded areas are a mixture of pines and hardwoods or primarily piney woodlands. Interestingly, white tails in mountainous areas repeatedly ran down slope from pursuing coyotes, while mule deer tended to run upslope. White tailed deer utilize a relatively small range and when adequate feed is present will stay in one locality for lengthy times. In the event of destruction of habitat, as with fire, they will temporarily relocate, but will return to their preferred range eventually. Hunting pressures may cause a deer to temporarily relocate, but it will return to its preferred range as well in a much shorter amount of time.
Whitetails are known to eat more than 500 different plants across the U.S. and when feed is plentiful they have favorite foods that they prefer to feed upon. Popular foods vary by region but a few of their favorites are acorns, legumes, tender plant shoots, fruit, corn and leaves. They also eat hay, grasses and white clover.
Mature native peach trees have been torn completely down by herds of deer feeding on ripe Indian peaches with the deer standing up, bracing legs on branches to reach more Indian peaches. Surrounding them were 12 acres of a garden with corn, peas and other tempting garden treats, but only the peaches were sought after. On the other hand subdivisions of former forests and fields are being stripped of landscaping plants by foraging deer.
Teeth are the most accurate means of determining the age of a deer, with a full set of permanent teeth not being acquired until the age of 2 years. After 2 years wear is the standard for determining age.
It is not correct that the age of a buck can be determined by the number of antler points. Deer have been documented to continue shedding antlers with the same number of points over a period of five years. However, the diameter of the beam of the antler will become heavier as the buck ages, but the quality and quantity of nutrition is so closely related to antler development that age of the deer in relation to the beams diameter cannot be counted upon. Antler development will vary among regions as well.
The white tailed deer have dichromatic (two-color) vision with blue and yellow primaries. In comparison, humans have trichromatic vision. Deer have difficulty in distinguishing oranges and reds making hunter orange a color that is poorly seen by deer.
When confronted with a predator, deer will blow before running away, alerting other deer in the area. The flash of their white tail is a warning to other deer that danger is near.
Where heavy hunting occurs deer will generally run away quickly when humans are spied even during the off hunt season. Deer have been recorded as running as fast as 47 mph, and are able to jump almost 9 ft. high and as far as 33 ft. in length. While deer typically run when frightened or threatened they have been known to charge a person or predator with antlers in the case of bucks, and the head in the case of a doe.
Females typically give birth to 1 or two spotted fawns but three are possible. Mid to late spring is the typical birthing time with most occurring in May or June. Doe groups occupy the same ranges from one generation to the next and are led by a matriarch who is the first to breed and give birth. Deer Communication
Males blow and expose the white tail as a warning to other deer. They may also snort when threatened. Mature bucks utilize a grunt-snort-wheeze sound to establish dominance, aggression and hostility. Fawns bleat a high pitched squeal to call their mothers. Grunts attract the attention of other deer and a mother will grunt when searching for her bedded fawns.
Behavioral research on deer is an ongoing project by numerous entities, but there is considerably less information available on bucks. Radio collars are beginning to bring in some data for bucks, and in time the data will reveal more about the white tailed deer.
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