The White-tailed Deer are the smallest members among the North American Deer family. Adult White-tail Deer have reddish-brown coats during summer but the color fades to a duller grayish-brown in the winter. Male deer (bucks) are easily distinguished in the summer and fall by their set of large antlers. A new set of antlers grows annually and they fall off during the winter. Its antlers grow as much as 1/2 inch (1.27cm) per day in spring and summer, which makes their antlers the fastest growing tissue known. Its name “white-tailed” refers to the characteristic white underside of the deer's tail, which it displays, and hold erect when it senses danger. The buck usually weighs between 130-300 pounds/60-130 kg whereas the doe usually weighs between 90-200 pounds/40-90 kg. Their body length ranges from 62 to 87 inches/160 to 220 cm, inclusive of their tail and their shoulder height is between 32 to 40 inches (80 to 100 cm). White-tailed Deer have dichromatic vision, which allows them to see similar color as humans apart from red and orange colors.
White-tailed Deer have a preference for open woodland, but are also found on the fringes of urban areas and in farming countries. Its main habitat includes areas along streams and rivers, mixed woodlands, farms, forests, and burned shrub fields. White-tailed Deer are found in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and in South America moving as far south as Peru. They have also been introduced to New Zealand and countries in Europe, such as Finland and Czech Republic.
Whitetail Deer are herbivores that mainly feed on agricultural crops, grasses, leaves, shoots, twigs, fungi, forbs, fruit and nuts. They also feed on acorns when they are available. White-tail Deer are known to eat mushrooms that are poisonous to humans. White-tailed deer are ruminants, which allow them to eat a lot and digest it later. They feed mainly in the very early hours of the morning until shortly after sun rise and again from late afternoon into the evening. White-tailed Deer are generally grazers but during winters they mainly browse for food.
White-tail Deer meet has a low fat content, low calorie count and low cholesterol level. Venison is dark red and said to be more richly flavored than beef with a distinct gamey taste. It has been a source of protein for the Native Americans and early European settlers. Deer hides are also used to make buckskin jackets, moccasins and other leather articles.
White-tailed Deer have diverse ways of communication, which includes the use of sounds, scent, body language, and markings. The Deer's antlers are not used as weapons against predators, but are used during the mating season, when the males are fighting for females. Females enter estrus in the fall, normally in late October or early November, which is mainly triggered by a declining photoperiod. The female gives birth to 1–3 spotted young, known as fawns, in mid to late spring. Fawns tend to lose their spots during the first summer and weigh between 44 to 77 pounds (20 to 35 kg) by the first winter. Weaning occurs after 8–10 weeks of age. Males leave their mothers after a year and the females leave after two year when they are mature. White-tailed Deer are preferred prey for wolves, bears, coyotes, bobcats and humans. There has however been an increase in deer populations caused mainly by a decline in its predators. Few White-tailed Deer live to be more than 5 years old because of hunting, vehicle accidents and predators. Their life span in the wild has however been noted to be as much as 11 years old although they can live up to 20 years in captivity.
Non-typical in PA
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