Thursday, August 01, 2013

White-tailed Deer

White-tailed Deer - Odocoileus virginianus 

The White-tailed Deer is the most widespread North American Deer and has been slowly spreading north and west since deglaciation.
The Mule and White-Tailed Deer probably split into the two modern species about 3 million years ago. These species are still so similar that their tracks and scat are indistinguishable. In regions with both White-tailed and Mule Deer, the White-tailed Deer prefer the gentler terrain.

A density of one White-tailed Deer per square kilometre is considered low, while ten or more per square kilometre is considered high.

White-tailed Deer can run 50 to 60 km per hour and jump a 2 meter fence from a standstill!
Forbs (flowering plants), mast (fruit and nuts), and mushrooms make up a large part of their diet. They are reported to eat insects and nestlings of ground-nesting songbirds. During a summer volunteer trip to a BC bird-banding station, I learned that deer forage the mist nets for these protein pack meals.
The rut of Canadian White-tailed Deers occurs from late October to mid-December. Canadian does give birth to one or two fawns, and better nourished mothers are more likely to birth two fawns. Triplets are rare in Canada.


Gadd Ben. Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. Corax Press. Jasper, Alberta. 1986.

Naughton Donna. The Natural History of Canadian Mammals. UofT Press. 2012.

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