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White-tailed Deer

Odocoileus virginianus


White-tailed deer have a wide range across much of the US and Canada, in a number of different habitats. They typically, on the average, tend towards larger sizes in the northern part of their range and smaller in the more southerly ranges. This particular deer probably weighs close to 175-200 pounds. Antlers are grown new each year and shed in winter to early spring. Females tend to be smaller. When alarmed, white-tailed deer flip their tails up flashing great flags of white as they run.


Typically we think of white-tailed deer as eastern deciduous forest animals, but they also live in riparian forests along rivers and have been expanding their range along rivers into the US and Canada's plains and into the Rocky Mountains.


I photographed white-tailed deer in this campground, high in the mountains, some 30 years ago. It's interesting that I found these deer again this last year living in exactly the same places around the campground and behaving exactly the same way in their selection of feeding and bedding sites. I suspect that they use the campground to deter predation from mountain lions, wolves, and bears. In essence, using humans to keep the predators at bay. Still, it doesn't always work, especially when this remote campground is closed for the year. If you look closely, there is a deer skull in the lower right of the photograph. Around it is large scat containing deer hair. The scat is probably is from this last winter, but it was too far decomposed to tell which predator had eaten the deer, or if the deer had died and was consumed as carrion or was killed and eaten by a predator.

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1 Comment

Captain Nature
Captain Nature 6 years ago

Consider adding this spotting to Montana wildlife:

Montana, USA

Lat: 48.76, Long: -113.79

Spotted on Jul 27, 2011
Submitted on Aug 9, 2011


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