Tag Archives: wildlife

Bobcat – Lynx rufus Information

Bobcat, Felis rufus


The Bobcat, Felis rufus, is the most abundant and widespread native wild cat in North America, named for its short tail that has a docked or “bobbed” appearance. The bobcat is an elusive mammal has been forced to become highly adaptive and can be found in a variety of environments because of habitat loss due to human development.


Bobcats are nearly twice the size of a common housecat, they measure 26” to 41” from head to tail (the tail measuring 4” to 7” in length,) and 17.5” to 23” tall at the shoulder. They are named for their short tails that appear “bobbed” or cut. On average, females are smaller than males. Adult bobcats weigh between 11 lbs. and 30 lbs. Bobcats have long legs and large paws (1) and make tracks that are approximately 2” in diameter (about double the width of housecat tracks) (2). They can be easily identified by the short tufts of hair on their ears (similar to those of the Canada Lynx,) and long, striped ruffs of hair along the sides of the head that create the illusion of sideburns.

Bobcats have an overall brown, buff, or brown-red coat accented by a white underside, black-tipped tail and ears, and dark stripes and spots on the body. In the winter, their coats may grey or dull.3

Bobcats are elusive and nocturnal, making them hard to observe in the wild. They tend to be solitary creatures and only interact during the mating season. Their home ranges are between .5 and over 2.5 square miles, depending on the time of year and location. Male bobcats have larger ranges than females and tend to overlap their ranges with those of several females and sometimes that of another male. Female bobcat ranges do not overlap. Bobcats are territorial and use scent markers to distinguish their ranges and repel intruders. These scent markers may include urine, feces, anal secretions, scratchings, and scrapes (piles of debris collected by a bobcat and marked with their scent.) Bobcats also communicate through sound, although this is typically reserved for the mating season when bobcats produce yowls and hisses. In addition to communication, bobcats also use keen vision, smell, and hearing to navigate their environments and interactions.

Bobcats spend the majority of time on the ground but are agile climbers and can swim.

In the wild, bobcats live an average of 10 to 12 years while in captivity they may live as long as 32 years. (4)


Bobcats have adapted to a diverse range of temperate habitats, including forests, deserts, swamps, brush land, mountains, and suburban areas (5). This diversification has been a necessary result of habitat loss due to development. They prefer habitats with minimal snow accumulation, since (unlike the lynx) bobcat paws are not adapted to navigate across deep snow. (6)

Bobcats build hidden dens in hollow trees, thickets, brush piles, and rocky outcroppings or crevices. While hidden, these dens can be recognized by the strong odors that tend to come from them.

Adults face few threats in their habitats other than humans. Natural enemies are coyotes, wolves and mountain lions. Their kittens are prey to large owls, coyotes, and foxes.


Bobcats can be found across most of North America, from southern parts of Canada through Mexico. Within the United States, bobcat populations tend to be densest in the southeast (7).


Bobcats are opportunistic carnivores and fierce hunters, whose diets consist mainly of rabbits, birds, rodents, and small game (although they are capable of taking down prey much larger then themselves, such as deer.) They have also been known to prey on domestic animals – small dogs as well as outdoor cats. Bobcats are stealthy hunters, using sight and sound to stalk their prey. They wait motionless, then pounce up to 10’, grabbing their prey by the neck and biting through the vertebrae. If a bobcat does not consume its entire kill at once, it will cover the remains with debris or snow and revisit the carcass for future feedings.8


Bobcats are solitary animals and only interact for courtship during the mating season. Breeding occurs once a year (usually in the spring,) during which time females may have multiple partners. After mating, male bobcats play no additional part in reproduction or rearing of the kittens.

Gestation lasts for 60 to 70 days, at which point the female will find a private den and have a little of one to six kittens. The kittens open their eyes at 10 days old and nurse for the first two months. Before the young set out on their own at 9 to 12 months old, their mother brings them meat and teaches them to hunt. Female bobcats reach sexual maturity by one year old, and males by two years.9

Notes of Interest

Bobcats are still trapped for their fur in certain parts of their range.

They are the most widespread and abundant wild cat native to North America. It is estimated that there are as many as one million bobcats in the United States alone.10 With that said, bobcats are quite rare in certain parts of their range, warranting hunting regulations and protection acts.

The Mexican bobcat, Lynx rufus escuinapae, a subspecies of Lynx rufus, is native to central Mexico and listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.11

Bobcats are also referred to as Wildcats, Bay Lynx, Barred Bobcats, Pallid Bobcats, and Red Lynx.12

1. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/bobcat/
2. http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bobcats.html
3. http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/bobcat.htm
4. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lynx_rufus/
5. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/bobcat/
6. http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bobcats.html
7. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lynx_rufus/
8. http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/bobcats.html
9. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lynx_rufus/
10. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/bobcat/
11. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lynx_rufus/
12. http://www.mnh.si.edu/mna/image_info.cfm?species_id=144


Great Blue Heron Information Identification

Great Blue Heron

General: The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is the largest and most common heron in North America. These wading birds are skilled fishers, thriving in a variety of geographic locations and climates. This species is protected by the United States Migratory Bird Treaty Act despite healthy numbers and stable populations, listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

Description: As the largest of the North American herons, the Great Blue Heron may reach an adult size of 4.5’ tall but only 4.5 to 7.5 lbs, due in part to their hollow bones. Their rounded wings span 5.5’ to 6.5’ in width. Males reach an adult size that is approximately 10% greater than females1. In addition to their overall size, Great Blue Herons may be identified by their long necks, long, tapered yellow bills and long, thin legs that are dull green in color. Their legs terminate in narrow, wide-set toes that allow these birds to walk on soft ground. Great Blue Herons have an overall dull blue-gray coloration, with white, black and brown streaking along the neck. Their white faces and white head-caps are accented with black eye-stripes that merge with black plumes on the back of the heads. Additional features include a shaggy grey ruff on the back of the neck, short tails, and tan feathers on the thighs. Juveniles are similar in color, but lack the plumes and shaggy feathers of adults. A juvenile may also be identified by its dark crown and mottled neck2. There may be as many as seven subspecies of Great Blue Herons, distinguished by size, color, and geographic location.

During flight, a Great Blue Heron will fold its neck and slowly beat its wings, reaching speeds of 20 to 30 mph3.

On average, a Great Blue Heron will live to 15 years of age in the wild. The oldest known Great Blue Heron lived to be 23 years old. Like many species, Great Blue Herons experience a high mortality rate in the first year of life, losing over half of juveniles to predation and starvation. Great Blue Herons are generally a solitary species and typically forage along. However, this species does nest in single-species colonies that may contain up to several hundred nests. Great Blue Herons are most active in the morning and at dusk to maximize fishing success. During the day they are inactive, sleeping with single-species flocks of up to 100 individuals. Great Blue Herons are a territorial species and have been known to be aggressively defensive.

Great Blue Herons are capable of producing seven distinct noises but relative to other species, they are fairly quiet. Sounds are made in response to disturbances or threats and to greet other herons. They also use physical gestures to communicate during courtship4.

Habitat: Great Blue Herons live in a variety of temperate and tropical habitats located in close proximity to water, often seen wading in marshes, sheltered bays and inlets, streams, ponds, swamps, wet meadows, along saltwater coastlines and at the edges of rivers and lakes. They may be found in fresh, salt or brackish water. East coast populations typically avoid shores, preferring to live inland5. Great Blue Herons tend to locate their nesting colonies away from human disturbances, in quiet areas including mature forests and islands.

Within their habitats Great Blue Herons are efficient at controlling insect and fish populations. These habitats place eggs and chicks at risk of predation by crows, ravens, eagles, bears, cultures, hawks, and raccoons. Adults may fall prey to larger predators. If a juvenile or adult is killed in close proximity to a colony, the colony will be abandoned. Great Blue Herons face other threats within their habitats, include collisions with wires, and loss of habitat due to land development and forestry.

Location: Great Blue Herons inhabit nearctic and neotropical regions. During the spring and summer, breeding colonies may be found across North and Central America, the Caribbean and the Galapagos Islands. Populations living in extreme northern climates may migrate south in the winter to Central and South America in search of food supplies. These migratory populations do not breed in their winter habitats. However, this species is highly adaptable (more so than other species of herons) and populations have been known to winter in environments as far north as British Columbia, the Alaskan coast, and New England.

Diet: Great Blue Herons are carnivorous. They usually hunt alone, seeking a variable diet of fish (making up the majority of their diet,) small mammals, insects, crustaceans, and reptiles, such as frogs and salamanders. They wade slowly or stand still, waiting for their prey to come within reach of their long necks and bills. They attack fast, grab their prey with their bills, and swallow their meals whole, causing some herons to choke to death if the prey is too large for their slender throats. In deep water environments, Great Blue Herons exhibit a variety of methods to locate and catch food. They may hover above the water, swim, or dive below the surface in pursuit of food.

Reproduction: Great Blue Herons form mating pairs that last for the duration of one breeding season. Northern populations breed between March and May and southern populations breed between November and April. Each season new pairs will form. Great Blue Herons nest in single-species breeding colonies containing from several to several-hundred breeding pairs. Isolated breeding and nesting is very rare for this species. Nesting begins in February when males choose a site and begin an elaborate display of courtship including flight, stretching, twig shaking, and physical shows. Great Blue Herons prefer to nest in tall trees but will also select locations in shrubs or on the ground as long as there is a nearby source of water. Colonies are usually situated in undisturbed wetlands, far from human activity and roads, at elevations up to 4900’6. Males collect the materials for the nest, constructed of sticks and lined with bark, pine needles, and small sticks. Females lay anywhere from two to seven pale blue-green eggs that are incubated for an average of 28 days by both parents. Females in northern environments tend to lay more eggs. In the event that a nest is destroyed or abandoned (adults may abandon a nest due to human intrusion or extreme noise,) a female may lay a second clutch. Both parents feed chicks by regurgitating food, showing preference for the largest chick. After two months the chicks reach fledging age, able to fly and survive on their own. However, fledglings will continue to return to the nest to be fed by their parents for several additional weeks. Male chicks generally experience faster growth rates, reaching a fledgling size up to 13% larger than females7. Great Blue Herons reach sexual maturity at 22 months old.

Notes of Interest: A subspecies of the Great Blue Heron living in southern Florida and the Caribbean is often mistakenly called a Great White Heron because of a color mutation resulting in pure white plumage8.

In 1999, Great Blue Heron colonies in Seattle, WA experienced a 40% abandonment rate in the middle of the breeding season. Experts now believe this exodus resulted from an increased presence of Bald Eagles in the area, known to harass herons and feed on their young. Crows may have also contributed, known to feed on nests after Bald Eagles.
In recent years, breeding colonies in Washington State were once again impacted by threats. Colonies that numbered in the hundreds were replaced with colonies containing only 30 to 40 nests. In addition to the presence of predators, forestry, land development, and the associated noises are believed to have contributed to this decline9.

1. http://www.arkive.org/great-blue-heron/ardea-herodias/
2. http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/great_blue_heron
3. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/great-blue-heron/
4. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Ardea_herodias/
5. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Ardea_herodias/
6. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Ardea_herodias/
7. http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/Ardea_herodi.htm
8. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/great-blue-heron/
9. http://www.birdweb.org/birdweb/bird/great_blue_heron


Pumpkinseed sunfish – Lepomis gibbosus



Pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) are one of three small to medium sized species of true sunfish, along with bluegills and redbreasts. The species common name was earned because of its distinctive body shape. Pumpkinseeds are often recognized for their eagerness to bite at bait and their catchability, making them popular amongst novice fishermen and children (especially when nothing else is biting.) But anglers beware, pumpkinseeds have sharp spines along their fins that can be painful if handled incorrectly. An abundant species, they fulfill an important intermediate role in their ecosystems and are a common site in shallow waters along the edges of ponds, lakes, and slow running streams or rivers. While easy to catch and quite tasty, their petite size prevents pumpkinseeds from being a sport fish.


Pumpkinseeds are small to medium, freshwater fish that reach an average mature length of 4” to 8” (but may reach 10” in length) and a mature weight of .35lb. to .65lb. They have laterally compressed, deep-bodies typical of sunfish, which are likened in shape to pumpkinseeds, earning them their common name. They have small mouths and protective spiny, rayed dorsal, pelvic and anal fins.

Pumpkinseeds are colorful fish. Their bodies are olive, brassy yellow or brown in color and densely mottled with copper, gold, orange, blue-green, or red spots. Irregular, crescent-shaped blue or emerald streaks are present on the cheeks and gill covers. The rear portion of the dark gill cover is marked with a crimson spot contained within a pale crescent-shape. Their bellies range from yellow, to bronze to red1.

Juveniles have vertical banding on their sides and pale spots on their gill flaps (called opercle flaps2.)

Pumpkinseeds are most active during the day, feeding and hiding amongst vegetation in schools. At night they rest below cover along the bottom of shallow, fresh waters. Their home ranges average .5 to 2.75 acres.

On average, wild pumpkinseeds live five to six years but may live as long as eight years. In captivity, these fish have lived as long as twelve years3.


Pumpkinseeds live in cool to warm fresh waters, preferring depths of 3’ to 6’ and a temperature of 70° to 75°F. They tend to school in the shallow waters close to the shores of lakes, ponds and slow moving streams or rivers where ample vegetation provides cover.

Within their native habitats, pumpkinseeds are prey to largemouth bass, pike, perch, pickerel, walleye, freshwater eels, other sunfish, cormorants, herons, mergansers, and humans, to name a few. In addition to hiding in aquatic vegetation for cover, pumpkinseeds are equipped with spiny fins that are used for protection from predators. When threatened, pumpkinseeds spread these spines, making them harder to swallow4.


Pumpkinseeds are found throughout eastern Canada and the United States, with ranges reaching as far north as New Brunswick, as far west as North Dakota and southeast Manitoba and south to South Carolina and Kentucky. Their native range includes the Great Lakes, the Hudson Bay, and upper portions of the Mississippi River. Pumpkinseeds have been introduced in other areas of the United States as well as in South America, Africa and Europe, where they are considered invasive pests5.


: Like other sunfish, pumpkinseeds have a diverse diet including insects, insect larvae, snails, leeches, crustaceans, mollusks, small fish and aquatic vegetation. The majority of their feeding happens in the afternoon, although sunfish are known to feed in varying water levels throughout the day6.


Pumpkinseeds spawn from May through August. During this period, females (of two to five years old) deposit from 4000 to 7000 eggs and males may breed up to once every eleven days. Unlike many species, pumpkinseeds are unique in that males provide parental care to the nests and young during early development while females play no role after spawning.

Male pumpkinseeds build colonies of up to fifteen nesting sites amongst vegetation in shallow, coastal waters. These colonies may contain a variety of species of sunfish, resulting in interbreeding. Males may construct several nest sites that are roughly 12” wide and 2” to 3” deep7. Males habitually fan these sites with their tails in order to remove fine sediment that could smother eggs8. These sites, once established, are aggressively defended by male pumpkinseeds, who charge, chase, bite, and mouth-fight intruding fish. However, when female pumpkinseeds approach from deeper waters to spawn, males will chase them into their nesting sites. During breeding times, males have been observed to change color, which is believed to play a role in breeding. Within the nest, males and females participate in a mating display in which they swim belly-to-belly in a circular motion, until the milt and eggs are released (the eggs released at intervals9.) Females may deposit their eggs in several nests throughout the breeding season and multiple females sometimes spawn with one male at the same time in the same nesting site.

With an optimal temperature of 55° to 82°F, eggs hatch in three to ten days. The young are transparent and have no ocular pigmentation for 48 hours. For the next five days, the young remain in the bottom of the nest, receiving nourishment form their yolks. The adult males guard all their nests and the young for approximately eleven days after they hatch, until the young have dispersed and are free-swimming and capable of feeding on their own (with fully developed mouths and pelvic fins, which are last to develop.) During this time, males continually fan the nests with their tails to keep them oxygenated and clean and have been known to return young to the nest within their mouths if they stray too far. For the first year of life, the young remain near the nesting sites and reach lengths of around 2”.

Pumpkinseeds reach sexual maturity in two years of age.

Notes of Interest: The DEC establishes closed seasons, quantity and size restrictions to protect fish species, particularly during vulnerable life stages, to ensure species survival as well as high quality fisheries for sport fishermen. Popular sport species receive particularly strict regulations, since they often develop slower, and have longer life expectancies. Examples of carefully protected species include small and largemouth bass. Sunfish, on the other hand, are not protected under strict regulations (even though they are a popular catch) as they reproduce rapidly and maintain healthy population numbers11.
Several countries with invasive populations of pumpkinseeds have reported negative ecological impacts due to these small fish. Since this species commonly hybridizes with other sunfish species, their presence often results in rapidly maturing, sterile males that overcrowd waters and stunt the growth of native species.

Pumpkinseeds are often kept as pets in aquariums and are also commonly used as the subjects for scientific studies12.

Pumpkinseeds readily bite at bait and have excellent flavor, but their potential as a game fish is hindered by their diminutive size.

Pumpkinseeds are also called punky, pond perch, sunnies, and sun perch.

1. http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7022.html
2. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/
3. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/
4. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/
5. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/
6. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/
7. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/
8. http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7022.html
9. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/
10. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/
11. http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7022.html
12. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Lepomis_gibbosus/


American mink – Neovison vison

General: The American mink (Neovison vison) is a medium-sized, semi-aquatic mammal that is a member of the mustelid family.  The American mink is native to the United States and Canada and has been introduced to several non-native habitats as a fur-bearer and game animal.  The American mink is best known for its glossy, thick, dark coat and long, lean body.  Humans pose the biggest threat to this species.           

Description: American mink are recognizable because of their long, slender bodies that are covered in thick, dark fur.  Full-grown, males are 22.5” to 27.5” in length, while females are smaller, reaching a mature length of 18” to 22.5”.  Their thick tail may make-up half their body length.  Similarly, mature males tend to be about 20% heavier than females, weighing 2 to 3.5lbs. while mature females weigh 1.5 to 2.5lbs.  Their length is emphasized by short sturdy legs and a long neck.  American mink have flat faces and conical heads with petite eyes and ears.  Because mink are semi-aquatic, their toes are webbed1.

American mink may be best known for their luxurious dark brown to black fur (made-up of a dark brown undercoat and long, oily guard hairs that waterproof the coat2.)  Their thick, shiny, soft coat is accented by patches of white fur on the chin, neck and chest. 

Mink don’t hibernate and are most active at dawn and dusk.  A semi-aquatic mammal, mink are skilled swimmers and tend to spend much of their time in and about the water searching for food.  They are capable of swimming up to 100’ underwater and diving up to 15’ below the surface.  Because of their dependency on the water for hunting, mink locate their subterranean burrows along the banks of bodies of water, or take residence in the abandoned burrows of other animals.  These dens are dug out then lined with dried vegetation and fur.  American mink tend to use each den for only a limited time before building a new den.

Because of their aggressive and defensive nature, American mink tend to be solitary animals.  Males are especially territorial and mark their home ranges with secretions from their anal glands (similar to skunks.)  Mink also use chemical secretions to communicate their sexual status.  Mink are known to be aggressive when faced with a threat from a predator.  However, mink are skilled at avoiding confrontations because of their agility, sly nature and dark coloration that blends well with their surroundings.

In addition to chemical cues, American mink communicate using visual and auditory cues, since they have highly developed senses of hearing, vision and smell3.  Mink are capable of making a limited range of sounds, including a pur when content4.

Mink may live up to 10 years old.

Habitat: American mink exist in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, forests, and marshes, but tend to prefer forested areas that offer access to water (near ponds, streams, or lakes,) and areas with brush or rock cover for protection5.

Location: American mink populations can be found across the United States and Canada (except for the southwestern United States, Hawaii, coastal areas of Canada along the Arctic and some Canadian islands.)  Populations have been introduced to Newfoundland and the British Isles (where mink were accidentally released or escaped from fur farms6.)

Diet: The American mink is carnivorous and consumes a diverse diet that changes throughout the year.  During warm months, their diets include aquatic animals (frogs, crayfish, and fish,) and small mammals (such as rabbits, muskrats, mice, chipmunks, and shrews.)  During cold, winter months their diets consist mainly of small mammals.

American mink have been known to store extra food within their dens7.

Reproduction: American mink are promiscuous and mate annually during the winter.  Fertile females may mate with multiple males.  After a gestational period of 40 to 75 days, the female gives birth in the late spring to a litter of one to eight young, within a fur-lined nest.  At birth, the young weigh 8 to 10g, are blind and wrinkled, and have a coat of fine white hair all over their bodies.  Their eyes open around 25 days old and by six weeks they are fully weaned (although the young may remain with their mother into their first fall.)  By 6 to 10 months old, the young become independent and leave their mother to establish their territories.  By 10 months old, American mink reach sexual maturity8.

Notes of Interest: Humans pose the greatest threat to the American mink (because of the high value of their fur.)  Mink are also hunted by coyotes, bobcats, birds of prey and other carnivores.  Common to other mustelids, minks are fearless and defend themselves aggressively when faced with a threat, although their coloration and allusive nature help protect them before these threats present themselves.

Limited trapping seasons for the American mink exist in forty-seven states and in all of the Canadian provinces9.

Due to the high demand for their fur, mink are bred on fur farms.  Through selective breeding, a broad spectrum of hide colors has been established, ranging from black to white.  These colors have become established in some wild populations (including some in South America, Europe and Newfoundland,) because of mink that have escaped from farms or been released from farms (by animal activist groups.)

Tens of thousands of mink were intentionally released into the Soviet Union over the coarse of several decades to provide a new game animal for hunters.  However, this introduction caused a severe shift in local eco-systems and had negative impacts10.


1. http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/mink.htm

2. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Neovison_vison/

3. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Neovison_vison/

4. http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/mink.htm

5. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Neovison_vison/

6. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Neovison_vison/

7. http://www.nhptv.org/natureworks/mink.htm

8. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Neovison_vison/

9. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Neovison_vison/

10. http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/american_mink.htm





White-Tailed Deer – Information, Identification

White-Tailed Deer


The white-tailed deer also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States.

Many times when deer and humans meet it can be expensive: Annual estimates of deer damage are reported to exceed $2 billion nationwide, including $1 billion in car damages, more than $100 million in agricultural crop damage, $750 million in damage to the timber industry, and more than $250 million in damage to metropolitan households (e.g., landscape plantings). These estimates are conservative, and it is often difficult to obtain reliable statistics for wildlife-related losses.3

Whenever you see a deer with antlers, you are looking at a male, called a buck. It has been observed that about 1 in 10,000 females, called does, also have antlers but with those numbers you will probably

never see a doe with antlers. Antlers are fast growing tissue. Antlers can grow at 1” – 2” per week. Growth starts in the spring. “Velvet” covers the growing antler. The velvet provides blood supply making the antler bones grow. When the antler has finished growing the velvet dies and buck uses trees and shrubs to rub off the velvet and “polish” their antlers. When scrapping off the velvet on small trees the buck also shreds the bark right off the tree. Looking for these “buck rubs” is one thing to look for when scouting land before hunting season. Genetics, age and diet contribute to the antler’s development.

Deer shed antlers after mating season when all does have been bred. If by chance there are does that have not been bred the bucks may retain their antlers. 1

Female deer give birth to one to three young at a time, usually in May or June and after a gestation period of seven months.

Check out our deer video on facebook https://www.facebook.com/TradersCreek/


The white-tail’s coat is a reddish-brown in the spring and summer and turns to a grey-brown throughout the fall and winter. The deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape.

Male white-tailed deer weigh in at approximately 130 lbs. to 290 lbs. while some can grow to in excess of 350 lbs. The female weigh in at approximately 88 lbs. to 200 lbs. White-tailed deer from the tropics as well as from the Florida Keys tend to be smaller averaging 75 lbs to 110 lbs From nose to tail, white-tailed deer average about 3’ – 7’ and are approximately 2’ – 4’ at the shoulder.


The white-tailed deer is a ruminant, which means it has a four-chambered stomach. Each chamber has a different and specific function that allows the deer to quickly eat a variety of different food, digesting it at a later time in a safe area of cover.

Whitetail deer are primarily herbivores. They eat a wide variety of plant foods including:  legumes, leaves, hay, grass, clover, acorns/forest nuts, pine needles, tree bark, tree buds, fungi, fruits (apples, etc), farm produce (corn, etc) and grasses. When researching about the foods Whitetail deer eat I discovered that they have been known to opportunistically feed on nesting songbirds and field mice.2






1. Deer and Deer Hunting TV 12/17/11
2. The American Midland Naturalist; University of Notre Dame; Oct 2000
3. http://wildlifecontrol.info/pubs/documents/deer/deer_factsheet.pdf