white tail deer
A deer’s coat is usually a tannish brown, or some shade of brown, ranging almostto gray. It usually has a white patch on its neck and large prominent ears. Its eyesare circled with white and a white band rings the muzzle. The belly is white,with white running down the inside of the legs. The tail, about 9 to 11 incheslong, is mostly brown although the underside is all white. The hooves have twotoes covered with a hard fingernail-like material, and another toe, called the dewclaw, appears about 3 inches high on the back of each leg.
The white-tailed deer population in North Carolina has made a dramatic turnaround.Deer were plentiful when European settlers first arrived, but the animalswere hunted extensively for meat and hide with no thought of conservation ormanagement. Within 100 years, deer were threatened with extirpation in NorthCarolina, as well as in the entire United States. Deer populations today haverisen to approximately 1.25 million deer in North Carolina.
Deer are so adaptable that they arefound in almost any type of habitat.They like creek and river bottoms,oak ridges, pine forests, farmlands orany other type of habitat that offersfood, water and cover. They adaptwell to suburban sprawl.In autumn, deer fatten up for thebreeding season or “rut.” Duringmid-October and into November,bucks establish hierarchies amongthemselves leading up to mating withdoes. A buck rubs its antlers on treesand limbs, scrapes depressions in the ground and deposits scent to let otherdeer know its territory. After the breeding season, bucks and does socializeless and the bucks become secretive again. Around the middle of January andearly Feb ruary, the bucks’ antlers drop and in April and May they begin togrow again. The fawns are born in May or June.
Green leaves, succulent plants, tenderwoody vegetation, grasses, acorns, andagricultural crops
Male: buck. Female: doe.Promiscuous; males mate with severalfemales and females may mate with oneor more males. Mating occurs in autumn.Females breed every year. Gestationperiod is 196 days.