White-tailed Deer Wildlife Note (2022)

Wildlife Note

Deer Hunting and More

Printable White-tailed Deer Wildlife Note(PDF)

The white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, was so named because the underside of its tail is covered with white hair, and when it runs it often holds its tail erect so that the white undersurface is visible. Whitetails belong to the Cervidae family, which in North America includes the elk, moose, caribou and mule deer. Cervids are split-hoofed mammals with no incisor teeth in the front of the upper jaw. They are classed as ruminant animals, meaning they have a four-chambered stomach and frequently chew a "cud." Adult male whitetails grow and shed a set of antlers each year. On rare occasions, females also grow antlers.

Whitetails are the most widely distributed large animal in North America. They are found throughout most of the continental United States, southern Canada, Mexico, Central America and northern portions of South America as far south as Peru. White-tailed deer are common throughout Pennsylvania. The species is absent from much of the western United States, including Nevada, Utah and California (though its close relatives, the mule deer and black-tailed deer, can be found there).

A male deer is referred to as a buck, and a female a doe. In Pennsylvania, the average adult buck weighs about 140 pounds and stands 32 to 34 inches at the shoulder. He is about 70 inches long from the tip of his nose to the base of his tail. His tail vertebrae add only about 11 inches, but the long hair makes it far more conspicuous. Does tend to be smaller compared to bucks of the same age.

(Video) Using Whitetail Parcel Feild Notes

Deer weights vary considerably, depending upon age, gender, diet and the time of year the weight is checked. For example, breeding-age bucks might weigh 25 to 30 percent more at the onset of the breeding season than they do at its conclusion. Hence, a 140-pound buck in December might have weighed approximately 180 pounds in September.

Adult deer share the same coat color and markings. The belly, throat, areas around the eyes, insides of the ears and the underside of the tail are white all year long. During summer, the upper parts of the body are reddish brown, and in winter they are grayish brown.

Summer coats are composed of short, thin, wiry guard hairs with no underfur. Winter coats have long, thick guard hairs that are hollow with soft, wooly, densely packed underfur. The winter coat provides excellent protection against the elements. Summer coats are shed in August and September, winter coats in April and May.

Melanistic (dark-colored) and albino (abnormally white) deer occur, but they are exceptionally rare. Partial white deer, called "piebalds" or "calico" deer, occur more frequently but are still reported to make up less than 1 percent of the population.

Fawns are born with reddish-brown coats dappled with white spots. This simple pattern is excellent camouflage. When a fawn is lying on the ground or in dry leaves, this coat looks like the sun hitting the ground after it passes through the treetops. Fawns lose their spots by taking on the same coat colors as adults in the fall.

Whitetails have many scent-producing glands: two tarsal, one inside each hind leg at the hock joint; two metatarsal, one on the outside of each hind leg between the hock and the foot; four interdigital, one between the toes of each foot; and two preorbital, one below the inside corners of each eye. The tarsal and metatarsal glands release scents conveying excitement or fear; while the interdigital glands produce odors that let deer trail each other by smell. The preorbital glands are used to personalize the prominent overhanging branch at "scrapes" – dirt areas where leaves and grass are scraped away – that are used to communicate with other deer during the breeding season, also known as the rut.

Deer can run at 40 mph for short bursts and maintain speeds of 25 mph for longer periods. They are also good jumpers, capable of clearing obstacles up to 9 feet high or 25 feet wide. The air-filled guard hairs enable them to swim easily.

(Video) Nature Notes: White-tailed Deer

Day or night, a deer's visual acuity is excellent. Deer can distinguish among different colors, but their eyes are particularly adapted as motion detectors. Their keen senses of smell and hearing help them to detect danger.

Usually deer are silent, but they can bleat, grunt, whine, and when alarmed or suspicious, make loud whiew sounds by forcefully blowing air through their nostrils. Does whine to call their fawns, and fawns bleat to call their mothers.

Although antler growth is evident on male fawns, the button-like protrusions are not prominent. A buck's first set of antlers begins to grow when it's about 10 months old. From this point forward, a buck will grow and shed a new set of antlers each year. Typical antlers curve upward and outward to point forward, and consist of two main beams with individual tines growing upward from them.

If the yearling buck comes from an area with poor food conditions, his first set of antlers may be only "spikes" – antlers consisting of single main beams only. Spikes are common in yearlings because antler growth starts at a time when the young buck's body still is growing. But because antler development is tied in closely with the animal's nutritional status, older bucks may also produce spikes if they come from an area with poor food conditions.

Antler growth is a complex process driven by hormones and photoperiod (day length). Antler tissue is the fastest growing tissue known to man, having the capacity to grow an inch or more per day. Annually, antler growth begins when the days are lengthening – between the spring equinox and the summer solstice (mid-March through mid-April). Antlers grow from the tip and are full of thousands of blood vessels and are covered in velvet.

As the summer progresses and day length begins to decrease, testosterone production increases. This triggers mineralization or hardening of the antlers. The soft tissue is transformed directly into bone by the depositing of minerals within the cartilage matrix through the extensive capillary network – hardening the antlers from the base to the tip. Antler-hardening takes about a month starting in mid-July and ending in mid-August, after which time, the velvet dries up and is rubbed off.

After the breeding season, testosterone levels drop off and antlers are shed in late winter or early spring. The process then starts all over again.

(Video) How To Score A Deer

While antlers are growing, they're soft and subject to injury. Bent and twisted tines and main beams often indicate the antler was injured while it was growing. Broken antlers occur after the antler has stopped growing and has hardened.

Antler shedding usually occurs earlier in northern states than southern ones. Natural variation and general health (which relates to nutrition) factor into when a buck will shed his antlers. It is typical for most bucks in an area to shed their antlers within a month or so of one another. But each buck has an individual antler cycle, and this also plays a role in when antlers are shed. This antler cycle is independent of all other bucks and is thought to be related to the animal's birth date.

Social Organization

The social organization of the whitetail is largely matriarchal. Although large numbers of deer are sometimes seen together in feeding or wintering areas, these associations are usually temporary and do not reflect the same strong ties as family associations. The most common social group is an adult doe, her fawns and her yearling female offspring. Sometimes three or four generations of related does are present in a family group. When fawning season approaches in late May, adult does become aggressive toward their yearling offspring; temporarily severing ties with the family group. Does remain alone to bear and rear their fawns. A doe's yearling offspring are left on their own for the summer.

For both male and female yearlings, this breakdown in family bond could result in movement away from their mother's home range. This movement is called "dispersal." If siblings do not disperse, they tend to remain together throughout most of summer. Sibling groups with yearling bucks break up in September as the rut approaches. Yearling bucks tend to disperse from the mother's home range at this time. In Pennsylvania, yearling bucks travel 3 to 5 miles on average, although dispersal movements of more than 40 miles have been observed. Yearling does that do not disperse remain in the mother's home range and rejoin her, and her new fawns, between September and October.

During the breeding season adult and yearling bucks tend to stay alone except when in pursuit of a female approaching estrus. After the breeding season in late January, bucks form loose associations of usually two to four animals. These bachelor groups remain together throughout most of the winter and summer months. These associations dissolve in September when the rut starts again.


The breeding season of white-tailed deer begins as early as September and can last into late January. Breeding activity reaches its peak in mid-November, and most adult females have been bred by the end of December. Some female fawns are capable of reproducing at 7 or 8 months of age and give birth at 14 or 15 months of age. Most of these animals breed a few weeks later than older does, and they usually produce a single fawn.

The age and health of a doe influence her reproductive capacity. Females from high-quality habitat produce more fawns than those from poor-quality habitat. Adult females (2½ years and older) usually produce twins, with 5 percent or less producing triplets. There is a tendency for younger females, females in poor condition, and females in poor-quality habitat to produce more male offspring.

(Video) HCC Wildlife Management: Lab 6 (White tailed Deer and Exam Review)

Food Habits

Whitetails eat a wide variety of herbaceous and woody plants. In a Pennsylvania study where biologists examined and measured the food contained in the rumens of vehicle-killed deer, about 100 different plant species were identified. More than half were tree, shrub or vine species, the remainder, herbaceous plants. A large number of ingested plants could not be identified.

Whitetail food preferences are largely dependent on plant species occurring in an area and the time of year. Green leaves, herbaceous plants and new growth on woody plants are eaten in the spring and summer. In late summer, fall and early winter, both hard and soft fruits, such as apples, pears and acorns are incorporated into their diet. In winter, evergreen leaves, hard browse and dry leaves are eaten. A variety of natural foods at all times of the year are essential if an area is to carry a healthy deer population.


The age of a forest determines the number of deer it can support. Studies in Pennsylvania's northern hardwood and mixed-oak forests show that seedling/sapling stands can support the greatest number of deer, pole-timber stands support few or no deer, and saw-timber stands can support a moderate number of deer.

Vegetation that affords protection to an animal is commonly referred to as cover. Dense thickets, especially evergreens, usually jump to mind as being best for deer. This type of cover is perfect for winter. The key word is "protection" – protection from all enemies, be they man, beast, insects or weather. Some kind of protection is needed during all seasons of the year, not just winter.

In Pennsylvania, the most essential cover component is probably winter protection within extensive hardwood stands. This kind of cover is best provided in areas protected from cold winds with southern exposures. Heavy snows can cause deer to move from high elevations to lower, protected valleys particularly into areas with conifer cover. A source of natural foods in the vicinity of good winter cover is the ideal location for deer to survive this critical time of year.


Deer are a valuable natural resource, but they must be closely managed or they'll quickly overpopulate the range they inhabit. When overpopulation occurs, deer strip their habitat of its life-supporting qualities, not just for deer, but for many woodland wildlife species. Crop and other property damage problems also increase, as well as deer-vehicle collisions.

To balance these costs, the Game Commission engages the public to identify deer-management goals. These goals then direct the deer-management program. Goals include managing for healthy and sustainable deer populations and habitat, maintaining deer-human conflicts at acceptable levels; and providing deer-related recreational opportunities such as hunting and wildlife viewing.


Population control can only be facilitated through regulated harvest of female deer. The Game Commission uses hunting to adjust deer populations. By issuing permits entitling hunters to take antlerless deer in particular management units, population trends can be affected to meet management goals. Deer population, habitat and deer-human conflict measures are used to determine how many hunting permits should be issued.

A sound management program is essential in maintaining the deer population as a public asset to be enjoyed by future generations of Pennsylvanians and visitors to the Commonwealth.


What habitat do white-tailed deer live in? ›

White-tailed deer are highly adaptable species and thrive in a variety of habitats. The areas that provide the most suitable environment include a mixture of hardwoods, croplands, brushlands and pasturelands. They prefer an interspersed habitat including meadows, forested woodlots, brushy areas and croplands.

What are white-tailed deer known for? ›

White-tailed deer are browse for food at dawn and dusk. White-tailed deer have good eyesight and hearing. Only male deer grow antlers, which are shed each year. White-tail deer are good swimmers and will use large streams and lakes to escape predators.

How would you describe a white-tailed deer? ›

The white-tailed deer is tan or brown in the summer and grayish brown in winter. It has white on its throat, around its eyes and nose, on its stomach and on the underside of its tail. The male has antlers. Males weigh between 150 and 300 pounds and females weigh between 90 and 200 pounds.

What is special about deer? ›

deer, (family Cervidae), any of 43 species of hoofed ruminants in the order Artiodactyla, notable for having two large and two small hooves on each foot and also for having antlers in the males of most species and in the females of one species.

What are 3 things deer need to survive? ›

For deer to survive they need food, water, shelter/cover, and space to move about and find their daily requirements. These are the essential components of habitat.

What is a deer's main habitat? ›

Deer, being adaptable creatures, are found in a variety of environments; however, they are best suited to forested habitats. Forests provide deer with a place to eat, to rest, to escape, to bear and rear young.

What climate do deers live in? ›

They live in wetlands, deciduous forests, grasslands, rain forests, arid scrublands and mountains. Sometimes, when human civilizations get too close to home, deer will even make themselves comfortable in urban settings.

Why white-tailed deer are endangered? ›

Market hunting, over-harvest, subsistence hunting, and lack of effective law enforcement were the main causes that drove the whitetail deer populations in the Southeast to become nearly extirpated. Venison was in high-demand, and with little regulations of deer harvest, the species was facing havoc.

Are white-tailed deer intelligent? ›

Deer, it turns out, are smarter than many people give them credit for. They quickly learn where to find easy sources of food when the weather gets cold.

Are white-tailed deer endangered or threatened? ›

What is a deer description? ›

White-tailed deer are large mammals. Adult deer can measure between 31 and 40 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh up to 300 pounds. Their coat is a reddish-brown during summer, and a duller grayish-brown during winter months. Their throats, inner ears, underparts, and the underside of their tails are white.

What are the physical characteristics of a deer? ›

Deer are lean, long-legged mammals. Their typical coloring ranges from reddish-brown to gray-brown with cream-colored undersides. Male deer may also be identified by their impressive antlers. These large pests stand three feet tall at the shoulder and approximately six feet long from nose to tail.

Are deers blind? ›

Deer have excellent night vision, thanks to eyes with a high concentration of rods, an oval pupal that acts like an aperture on a camera, and a layer of tissue that acts like a mirror and magnifies light. (This tissue, called the tapetum lucidum, is why their eyes glow when you shine a light on them in the dark.)

What are two interesting facts about deer? ›

Deer can sprint up to 30 miles per hour and leap as high as 10 feet and as far as 30 feet in a single bound. One in 30,000 deer is an albino. Deer can become rabid (so watch out!). A September 2010 Pennyslvania rabies report listed six white-tailed deer out of the 312 total positive rabies cases for the year to date.

Are deer deaf or blind? ›

A deer's hearing, being far superior to that of a human, can easily detect the faintest of sounds. In fact, it is believed that a deer's hearing is so sensitive that it can determine how far away a sound was made. A deer's hearing is one of the reasons that it is so difficult to sneak up on one without being detected.

Why deer is a wild animal? ›

Wild animals or plants live or grow in natural surroundings and are not looked after by people.

What is a deer's most favorite food? ›

Deer will primarily eat browse (woody portion of leaves and stems), forbs (broad-leaved plants), mast (acorns, apples, etc), and grass. Although these are the main foods deer like to eat, the quantity of these different foods differ throughout the year and the region you are hunting.

What is the most common cause of death for deer? ›

Human hunting is by far the greatest source of mortality on yearling and adult deer. If a goal is to increase deer numbers, hunters must kill fewer antlerless deer. It will help greatly, too, to manage habitat to benefit deer.

Do deer recognize you? ›

They first recognize you at a distance when they see you, then verify your smell as you get closer, while listening all the time. They tend to ignore you if you're on their “safe” list, and move away if you're someone who hassles them.

How strong is a deer? ›

They have long legs with powerful muscles and are able to run 40 miles per hour and jump 10 feet high. They are also fast swimmers. Deer have an excellent sense of smell, which allows them to detect predators from a long distance away.

How long can a deer live? ›

“Deer living in captivity, afforded protection and good nutrition, will commonly live 15 to 20 years,” writes James Heffelfinger in his book “Deer of the Southwest.” It is much rarer to find cases of wild deer living more than 15 years … Even in unhunted herds, wild deer rarely live past 15 years.

Why do deer not live long? ›

“The life span of a whitetail deer can be from 6 to 14 years in captivity. In the wild, the majority of deer don't make it to that age because of disease, hunting and automobile collisions. The average life span for wild whitetail deer is 4½ years (Lopez et al 2003).

How do deers survive? ›

Usually deer can comfortably survive the winter by eating their usual diet of twigs, stems, grasses, and other plants wherever they typically would find them, as well as by supplementing with higher-calorie foods such as nuts, fruits, and even mushrooms.

Where do deers live and sleep? ›

The quick answer is, “anywhere they want.” Deer sleep anywhere they bed and may do so singly or in groups. However, during daylight it's far more common for deer to sleep in heavy cover where they feel secure.

Where do deer survive? ›

Dense concentrations of pine trees and other coniferous trees are particularly popular with deer. Many deer may live in relatively close proximity amongst particularly dense forests of coniferous trees. Stands of coniferous trees are sometimes called “deer yards” because they're an ideal environment for resting herds.

Can deer survive in heat? ›

But there are three things you can do in the hot summer months to give deer a better chance of survival: provide shade and shelter from the elements, provide a dependable water supply and supplement their diet with nutrients that are in short supply this time of year.

Do deer like hot or cold? ›

Cool weather makes deer more comfortable, just like it puts a skip in your step.”

Are deer more active in hot or cold weather? ›

For starters, temperatures and temperature changes can greatly affect deer movement. During the day, when temperatures are warmer, deer will often halt their movement and bed down for the day. In contrast, cooler temperatures will sometimes allow for more movement.

How does the white-tailed deer impact the environment? ›

White-tailed deer consume buds and twigs of young trees as well as many understory herbaceous plants. Once the terminal leader of a tree grows above the reach of deer, impacts from browsing are significantly reduced–thus, seedlings and saplings are the most vulnerable to damage [3–5].

Why are white deer protected? ›

White deer are a rare and beautiful natural resource (1 in 20,000) that many people enjoy seeing and watching. They are a unique part of the Leland community and add to its identity. Even though many landowners are protecting the white deer, the deer may move to places where they are not safe.

What diseases do white-tailed deer carry? ›

The diseases associated with deer include Q fever, chlamydiosis, leptospirosis, campylobacterosis, salmonellosis, cryptosporidiosis, and giardiasis.

Are white deer blind? ›

It's difficult to accurately determine how frequently this condition exists in wild animals, because albino animals tend not to survive long. They have poor eyesight and are conspicuous, making them easy prey.

Can a deer hurt a human? ›

In addition to generally being a nuisance by eating, trampling and defecating on landscaping and gardens, deer can also be dangerous to human beings and other domestic animals, particularly dogs.

Why do deers jump in front of cars? ›

Deer also jump in front of cars while trying to cross roadways. They may be trying to cross to find food, to get back to the spot where they bed down, or to find a mate. Headlights confuse deer, especially at night.

Are white-tailed deer pests? ›

White-Tailed Deer are a Pest and Source of Meat.

Why are white deer rare? ›

White deer are ordinary white-tailed deer with an extraordinary color. They are white or mostly white in color. The color is a genetic trait and is inherited but is extremely rare.

How many whitetail are left in the world? ›

Today, there are 30 million. Learn about whitetail anatomy, diet, habitat, and other deer facts.

How do you write deer in a sentence? ›

Examples of 'deer' in a sentence
  1. Wild boar and deer could eat his livelihood. ...
  2. We passed salmon rivers, grouse, wild deer and a eagle that took a shine to drone. ...
  3. Wild red deer have been hunted for both sport and food here for centuries. ...
  4. Look out for deer and wild boar.

What is a deer called? ›

A male deer is called a stag or buck, a female deer is called a hind or doe, and a young deer is called a fawn, kid or calf.

Do deers feel emotions? ›

Although they may not have as broad a spectrum of feelings as human beings, deer use body language to communicate danger to one another. If you're a hunter, learning to recognize the signs of a nervous deer can help you determine your best course of action before it takes off.

Are deer scared of human? ›

Even when we mean them no harm, deer tend to be wary of humans. When we approach, they usually raise their heads, prick their ears and stand very still. It's how these creatures stay vigilant against predators.

Can deers hear? ›

Ultrasonic Hearing: Research done by Dr. Henry Heffner at the University of Toledo shows that deer can hear upwards of 54,000 hertz (humans hear up to 20,000 hertz, if lucky). Translation: You make noises you may not even know you're making, but deer can hear them clear as a bell.

What are 3 adaptations of a white-tailed deer? ›

In summer, white-tailed deer have reddish-brown coats, which they shed for grayish-brown ones in the winter. Their winter coats are well insulated, with dense under fur; the longer guard hairs have hollow shafts. During the fall, the deer also store extra body fat around their organs and under their skin.

What is a deer called with a white tail? ›

white-tailed deer, (Odocoileus virginianus), also called Virginia deer, common American deer of the family Cervidae (order Artiodactyla) that covers a huge range from the Arctic Circle in western Canada to 18 degrees south of the Equator in Peru and Bolivia.

Why are white-tailed deer a problem? ›

White-tailed deer directly affect many aspects of our lives. Hunters, farmers, foresters, motorists, gardeners, and homeowners are all impacted by deer abundance levels. This may be through car deer collisions, disease transmission, loss of desirable landscaping, crop damage, or over-browsed woodlands.

How do deer survive in their habitat? ›

Adaptations: A deer's coat has hollow hairs that help to keep it insulated in cold weather. The coat colors change seasonally, helping the deer to better camouflage, and the spotted coats of fawns help them to hide on the forest floor.

What are three interesting facts about white-tailed deer? ›

White-tailed deer have good eyesight and hearing. Only male deer grow antlers, which are shed each year. White-tail deer are good swimmers and will use large streams and lakes to escape predators. A young deer is called a fawn.

How are white-tailed deer affected by climate change? ›

Based on projections of warming temperatures and decreasing snowpack in the region, deer are likely to expand their range north and increase in abundance. Winter will no longer serve as the Grim Reaper for white-tailed deer in the region.

What do white tails eat? ›

White-tails are nocturnal hunting spiders that do not spin a web to catch prey but actively search for and catch their prey. They feed on other spiders and prefer grey house spiders.

Why are white deer sacred? ›

White deer hold a place in the traditions of many cultures. They are considered to be messengers from the otherworld in some Celtic mythology; they also played an important role in other pre-Indo-European cultures, especially in the north.

What are white-tailed deer Good For? ›

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are a species of wild ruminant commonly found in much of North America and a member of the Cervidae family, which includes deer, caribou, elk, and moose. White-tailed deer have long been prized by hunters for their antlers, meat, and hides.

How do deer impact the environment? ›

By foraging selectively, deer affect the growth and survival of many herb, shrub, and tree species, modifying patterns of relative abundance and vegetation dynamics. Cascading effects on other species extend to insects, birds, and other mammals.

What is the biggest threat to the white-tailed deer? ›

Ticks, horseflies and mosquitoes plague the white-tailed deer. However, as with most rainforest animals, humans pose the biggest threat. Humans hunt white-tailed deer for their meat, antlers, hides, and sometimes just for sport, and they destroy the habitat upon which the animal depends.

Why is the deer important? ›

Deer are an important part of the ecosystem.

Deer are considered prey to many wild animals, even humans hunt them down which makes them an important link in the food chains.

Where does deer live mostly? ›

Deer live mainly in forests but may be found in deserts, tundra, and swamps and on high mountainsides. They are native to Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and northern Africa and have been introduced widely elsewhere. Females are usually called does, and males bucks.

What is a deer's favorite habitat? ›

Deer, being adaptable creatures, are found in a variety of environments; however, they are best suited to forested habitats. Forests provide deer with a place to eat, to rest, to escape, to bear and rear young.

What climate do deer live in? ›

They live in wetlands, deciduous forests, grasslands, rain forests, arid scrublands and mountains. Sometimes, when human civilizations get too close to home, deer will even make themselves comfortable in urban settings.

Are white tail deer blind? ›

"Deer are essentially red-green color blind like some humans. Their color vision is limited to the short [blue] and middle [green] wavelength colors. As a result, deer likely can distinguish blue from red, but not green from red, or orange from red."

How long do whitetail deer live naturally? ›

The average lifespan of a wild whitetail is 4½ years, according to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. If we break it down by sex, we find that the average life expectancy of a buck is 2.9 years, while the average lifespan of a doe is 6½ years.

What happens if you get deer blood in a cut? ›

If a person has a cut or an open wound, blood and bacteria from an infected deer could enter the bloodstream, causing a human infection. It also may be transmitted when a human inhales aerosolized bacteria during the field-dressing process.

Can you get sick from touching a deer? ›

Some animals may put hunters at risk for brucellosis, a disease that can cause severe illness. When you are hunting, avoid all contact with visibly ill animals or those found dead. Be sure to practice safe field dressing techniques, since it is still possible for animals that appear healthy to have brucellosis.

How does the temperature affect deers? ›

A drop of 10 or more degrees in daytime high temperatures tends to elicit a positive increase in deer movement—this seems to be the threshold for a meaningful cold front. Furthermore, cold temperatures in general (compared to the average for that time of year) are almost always a good thing.

What causes deer population to increase? ›

Deer populations increase through births or when new animals move into the area (immigration). Deer populations decrease through deaths or when animals leave the area or disperse (emigration). Population change = (birth + immigration) - (death + emigration).

How do white-tailed deer survive winter? ›

Like many other mammals, deer physically prepare for the winter by better insulating their bodies. In the fall, deer gradually trade their summer hair coat for a winter one, which consists of thicker, longer, and darker hairs called guard hairs, while also growing in a much thicker undercoat.

Do white tails bite? ›

The usual white-tailed spider bite can be painful but the initial burning feeling, swelling, redness and itchiness at the bite site usually resolves and there are no long-lasting effects. White-tailed spider bites are not considered venomous to humans.

How poisonous are white tails? ›

Danger to humans

White-tailed Spider bites can cause initial burning pain followed by swelling and itchiness at the bitten area. Occasionally, there are unconfirmed reports of weals, blistering or local ulceration - conditions known medically as necrotising arachnidism.

Are white tails friendly? ›

White tailed spiders often enter houses and find their ways into clothing and beds where humans can disturb them. They will only bite if provoked but this can happen accidentally, especially if caught up in bedding or clothes or squeezed in some way.

What God does a deer represent? ›

In Greek mythology, the deer is particularly associated with Artemis in her role as virginal huntress.

Are white deer lucky? ›

White deer, closely identified with unicorns, have been potent figures in the mythology of many cultures. It is said to be bad luck to kill one.

How rare is it to see a white deer? ›

Albino deer are deer that lack pigmentation and have a completely white hide and pink eyes, nose and hooves. Piebald deer are much more common with some studies showing the trait may show up in one in 1,000 deer. Albinism is much rarer and may only be observed in one in 30,000 deer.

Do deer have feelings? ›

Although they may not have as broad a spectrum of feelings as human beings, deer use body language to communicate danger to one another. If you're a hunter, learning to recognize the signs of a nervous deer can help you determine your best course of action before it takes off.

Where do deers sleep at night? ›

The quick answer is, “anywhere they want.” Deer sleep anywhere they bed and may do so singly or in groups. However, during daylight it's far more common for deer to sleep in heavy cover where they feel secure.

What eats a white-tailed deer? ›

Predators kill white-tailed deer. Field studies from across the United States, including Pennsylvania, show that predators - notably coyotes, bears, and bobcats - prey on white-tailed deer. Predation is a natural form of mortality for white-tailed deer.

Do deer destroy forests? ›

“Overall, deer reduce community diversity, lowering native plant richness and abundance and benefiting certain invasive plants, showing that deer have a pervasive impact on forest understory plant communities across broad swaths of the eastern U.S.,” said Kristine Averill, a research associate in Cornell's Section of ...

Why are deer important to forests? ›

However, deer can provide important socioeconomic and ecological services as ecological ambassadors; they are the most economically valuable species that supports wildlife agencies; and they act as a natural disturbance to reduce number of small trees, particularly in the absence of surface fire disturbance.

How do deer affect soil? ›

Deer also increase soil compaction, likely through hoof action. “Shifts in these environmental factors may result in forest composition changes,” notes Sabo, a graduate student and instructor in UW–Madison's Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology.

What kills deer in the wild? ›

Predators. Humans are the white-tailed deer's only major predator. Bobcats, wolves and coyotes used to be major predators but populations of these carnivores have fallen significantly.

Why do deer hop when they run? ›

An alarm signal to other members of the herd that a predator is hazardously close thereby increasing the survival rate of the herd.

How do white-tailed deer survive from predators? ›

The primary way that whitetail deer protect themselves when threatened is by fleeing, Whitetail deer can run up to 30 miles per hour and with great agility. And they can jump very far and high and are also good swimmers. This gives them several options for evading predators.

Can a deer hurt a person? ›

In addition to generally being a nuisance by eating, trampling and defecating on landscaping and gardens, deer can also be dangerous to human beings and other domestic animals, particularly dogs.

Are deer scared of humans? ›

Even when we mean them no harm, deer tend to be wary of humans. When we approach, they usually raise their heads, prick their ears and stand very still. It's how these creatures stay vigilant against predators.

Why should humans not feed deer? ›

Supplemental feeding of wild deer is harmful and can lead to bouts of severe diarrhea and dehydration, which could be deadly.


1. Nature Notes Skull of White-tailed Deer (Herbivore)
2. Wild Sarasota: White-tailed Deer (webinar)
(UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County)
3. Dr. Deer: Field Notes - EHD Necropsy (WARNING - GRAPHIC FOOTAGE)
(Sendero Outdoors)
4. The day the buck parade stopped by my farm
5. Whitetail Life Cycle
(Boonton Wildlife)

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