Catskill Mountaineer

White Tailed Deer

The Catskill Mountains have white-tailed deer most mountain ranges. Deer are generally found more often at lower elevations of the mountain ranges. White-tailed deer are sometimes called "Virginia Deer". They live in almost all states. They are known for their white fur on the bottom of their short tails. Males are called "bucks", where females are called "does".

White-Tailed deer are a medium sized deer. Male white tailed deer range from 130-to-300 pounds. Female white tailed deer range from 90-to-200 pounds. The largest white tailed deer was approximately 500 pounds. The length of the white tailed deer is from 62-to-87 inches (5 to 7 ft). The height to the shoulder ranges from 32-to-40 inches. In the Spring and Summer they are reddish-brown. In the Fall and Winter they are grayish-brown.

Females do not grow antlers. Only male deer grow antlers. They grow new antlers each year. The size of antlers is determined by genetics, food, and environment. It was once believed that young bucks had small antlers, where older deer had larger antlers. This is not true. Antlers begin to grow in late spring. When the antlers are growing in the summer they are covered with highly vascular tissue, which is known as "velvet". They shed their antlers between December-and-February.

Most deer are afraid of humans and will run away when humans are encountered. But, if a deer is cornered, they will attack humans. Bucks, in particular, are capable of using their antlers to gore a human from blocking them. Does and bucks can also use their front legs to kick you if encountered. Humans are sometimes attacked when pulling an unconcious deer off the road. If the deer becomes concious they will attack the person pulling them off the road.

Deer eat a wide variety of food. They mainly eat plant material, seeds, and nuts. They are also capable of eating matter is poisonous to humans, such as, poisonous mushrooms. Deer have a four chamber stomach to digest their food. They also have a complex set of bacteria to break down the food matter. In rare cases they will eat birds that nest on the ground.

Deer have two main predators. They are coyotes and humans. Coyotes are larger in the northeastern part of the United States and can prey on them better then coyotes from other parts of the country. Humans kill deer by hunting and car impacts. In other parts of the country, Gray wolves, mountain lions (cougars), and alligators are predators. Larger bobcats and lynx are capable of killing an adult deer. But, they will more often take fawns. Black bears will sometimes take a fawn in the Spring-to-Summer time frame.

Deer mate in Noverber-to-December. They gestrate approximately seven months. They will give birth to one-to-two fawns in May-or-June. They will give birth in tall weeds. The fawn will stay near where it was born the first week of life. The picture on the right shows a fawn that is about 3 days old. When they are a couple of days old, they will lay in the weeds quitely if a predator enteres their area. They are born with spots on them (like in the picture). They can walk shortly after they are born. Their legs are weak the first day they are born.

Deer are capable of breeding effectively, and growing in population quickly. Since there are so few predators in New York, we must have management of the deer population. In recent years, less people are hunting, so the deer population is growing.
white tailed deer
white tailed deer
white tailed deer
Deer above Buttermilk Falls
white tailed deer
white tailed deer
white tailed deer
3-day old fawn below Windham High Peak

Links and References:

NYS DEC - White Tailed Deer

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