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Whitetail Deer

White-tailed Deer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Scientific classificationBinomial nameSubspecies
White-tailed Deer
Species:O. virginianus
Odocoileus virginianus
Zimmermann, 1780
Odocoileus virginianus clavium
Odocoileus virginianus leucurus
Odocoileus virginianus virginianus

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer found throughout most of the continental United States, southern Canada, Mexico, and Central America far south as Panama. The species is most common in the eastern portion of its range, and is absent from much of the western United States, including Nevada, Utah and most of California. It can adapt to a variety of habitats, from deserts in Arizona and New Mexico to mountains in West Virginia.


White-tailed deer fawn at Ricketts Glen State Park.
White-tailed deer fawn at Ricketts Glen State Park.

The deer can be recognized by its characteristic white tail, which it raises as a signal of alarm and is typically seen in its escape. The male (also known as a buck) usually weighs from 130 to (in rare cases) 350 pounds (60 to 160 kg), depending on the gene pools and feed in a certain area. The female (doe) usually weighs between 90 and 130 pounds (50 to 60 kg), but some weigh in excess of 130 pounds (60 kg). The deer's coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer, and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The bucks shed their antlers around February, and begin growing them back in the early spring. In northern regions, the mating season (also known as the rut) is short, about two weeks long, while the breeding season in Mexico is nearly all year long. The mating season is dependent on the moon and sun.

Range and population

Some recent estimates put the deer population in the United States at around 30 million. In 1930, the population numbered only about 300,000, but through successful conservation programs and seasonal hunting, the deer population is once again high, to the point at which the animal is considered a nuisance in some areas. Traffic accidents involving deer are a serious problem in many parts of the country, especially at night and during rutting season.

The species is the state animal of Arkansas, Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin, as well as the provincial animal of Saskatchewan. Texas is home to more white-tailed deer than any other U.S. state or Canadian province, with an estimated population over four million.

White-tailed deer were introduced to Finland during the 1950s. This project was very successful, and the deer have recently begun spreading through northern Scandinavia, but many Swedish hunters consider the deer as a foreign element in the Scandinavian ecosystem.

For many states in the U.S. and some Canadian provinces, hunting for white-tailed deer is a very important cultural activity and is central to the economy in many rural areas.

A sub-race of the White-tailed deer is white - not albino - in color. The former Seneca Army depot in Romulus New York has the largest known concentration of white deer known to exist. Strong conservation efforts have allowed this race to thrive within the confines of the CA Depot.

White deer: http://www.senecawhitedeer.org/history/deer.htm

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White-tailed_Deer"
Category: Deer

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