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White -Tailed Deer

             According to Richard Zwifel, author of The Encyclopedia of Animals, white-tailed deer, Odocileus virginianus, are one of the most common and wide- spread animals in North America. Scientists recognize 30 white-tail subspecies in North America, and another eight in South America. North America's whitetail population is by far the most popular game animal in the U.S., chased by some 11 million hunters each fall. The can be found in almost every state in the U.S., including Maine, and on the Unity College campus.
             Zwifel claims that deer grow to about six feet long and stand three to four feet high. They are reddish or grayish in color, depending on their habitat and the time of year. The weight of whitetails varies, from 100 to more than 300 pounds.
             The lifespan of a whitetail is 11 to 12 years in the wild, 17 to 20 years in captivity. However, most free-roaming deer never live that long; they are hit by cars, die of disease, killed by predators, or shot by hunters. In heavily hunted areas, many bucks live only 1 ½ or 2 ½ years, if that.
             Breeding season for white-tailed deer usually begins in November, however, in warmer states like Texas, it sometimes does not start until late December. According to Zwifel, a doe generally has one offspring, however, some have been documented to having twins. As the young offspring of adult deer, fawns spend their time learning the skills needed to survive in the wild. They can be identified by their size and white spots. See Fig. 1.
             Fig. 1. Deer fawn as provided by.
             Female deer are characterized by their lack of antlers and slightly smaller size. In most areas, there are more doe than bucks. .
             According to Robin Rees, author of The Way Nature Works, male deer, also known as bucks, are the most hunted of the species. Bucks have antlers covered in a texture called velvet and can weigh up to two times as much as the females.

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