Whitetail Deer Hunting
The whitetail deer are as adaptive to their environment as any animal in the natural world. The spike in deer populations in suburban and even urban areas is evidence that whitetail deer can adapt quickly to most any environment. Typically, deer are most active in the early morning hours, the evening hours, and especially true with big bucks, through the night. There are no deer that are 100% nocturnal. Because of this high degree of adaptability, hunters of whitetail deer must be willing to put in the time and effort to pattern their quarry. Even more challenging, is the fact that as the traditional deer season kicks into high gear, many deer change their patterns as mating season affects their movements. A basic tenet of whitetail deer behavior is that while they are herd animals, they tend not to congregate with like sex, and once the rut begins or approaches, due to competitive biology, buck groups break apart.
A large buck can reach a mature weight of 200 pounds or more. Typically, antler growth peaks at around 5 and 1/2 years of age. The whitetail’s tail is a warning signal to other deer. When you as a hunter see the tail rise, you may assume that there is a reasonable chance the deer is alert to your presence. Deer have incredible peripheral vision extending to about 310 degrees. The ears of whitetail deer are so sensitive that some scientists believe they may even have a form of hearing depth perception allowing them to ascertain the distance from which a sound was made. One way bucks establish territorial boundaries is through rubbing their antlers on trees which are called rubs.
As with whitetail deer behavior in general, the dietary needs of a whitetail deer are highly adaptable. The dietary intake will change based on available browse and will vary through the year. Summer time often provides deer with a diverse range of options in the leafy plants category. Often in the Fall, the dietary intake of whitetail deer makes a transition to more of a mast diet including items like acorns, but also corn or fruits like apples when available. In the Winter, deer subsist on woody plant intakes like buds and twigs. Determining the dietary intake of the deer in your area at the time you will be hunting will be a most important factor.
We hope these basic ideas assist you in making some of the decisions in where you will scout for the purposes of whitetail deer hunting.
Paul Marsh co-authors a website that emphasizes teaching outdoors skills in the areas of hunting, fishing, and camping, all with the highest priority on assisting families and newcomers to these activities. His website Family-Outdoors has information on camping, hunting, and fishing from all perspectives.
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