Much money is spent by deer hunters in the USA every year, creating opportunities for many nationwide companies and providing much-needed revenue to local businesses as well. The allure of the whitetail deer as a game animal is quite strong, and hunters will go to great lengths and expense in their pursuit.
Bucks grow antlers, not horns. (Antlers are shed and re-grown each year, while horns are permanent.)
Dew claws: two small hoof-like protuberances at the rear of each foot.
Their coat is grayer in the winter, redder in the summer, but is generally light brown. White hair is found inside the ears, under the tail, inside the legs, on the belly, and around the eyes, nose, and chin.
Whitetails are good swimmers, and have been known to take to the water without hesitation, especially when pursued.
Whitetail fawns bear spotted coats, which helps them blend with their surroundings, and have no scent.
Their usual feeding times coincide with many other mammals, that is, early in the morning and late in the afternoon, but this is not a hard-and-fast rule by any means.
A doe's first pregnancy usually produces one fawn, and then twins are the rule - though sometimes as many as four fawns may result.
More words have been strung together about the whitetail rut than I could produce between now and the day I die, so I shan't try to cover it in-depth here. Suffice it to say that rut activity is often intense, sometimes brutal, and always interesting.
Visual cues range from the raising of a tail to the stomping of a hoof, and also include bobbing of the head, but are certainly not limited to these.
Deer hunting can be very easy (on rare occasions), as well as extremely challenging and frustrating. The highs and lows of heading afield with the goal of besting a whitetail are worlds apart from one another, but all are worth it to a dedicated deer hunter.
Hunters often watch deer rather than shooting them, and it is certainly an awesome experience just to see deer in the wild, and watch them undetected. Nothing can match the feeling one gets from the successful hunting and harvesting of a whitetail, however. It feeds something primitive and unquenched that lives in a hunter's soul and demands satisfaction.
The taking of deer is also good for the deer... though one could argue that it doesn't do a lot for the health of the individual deer that are killed during hunting season. The herd as a whole definitely benefits, however, and hunting is an integral part of any properly managed whitetail herd.
More words of praise from me would be moot, so I'll end this now, by saying that the whitetail deer has given me many years of pleasant experiences and memories (meals too), and when I was a young 'un it formed the foundation for a wonderful relationship with my father that is rarely matched, and is never brought on by sitting on one's duff and watching football while ignoring the natural world. And for that, o whitetail, I will forever be grateful.
- Russ Chastain