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The White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is a medium-sized deer found throughout most of the continental United States, southern Canada, Mexico, Central America and northern portions of South America as far south as Peru.
About 1930, in the United States of America, the White-Tailed Deer population was thought to number about 300,000. After an outcry by hunters and other conservation ecologists, commercial exploitation of deer became illegal and conservation programs along with regulated hunting were introduced to solve the problem. Recent estimates put the deer population in the United States at around 30 million today.
The westernmost White-Tailed Deer population, the Columbian white-tailed deer once was widespread in the mixed forests along the Willamette River (Willamette Valley Forests Ecoregion) and Cowlitz River Valleys of Western Oregon and Southwestern Washington (endangered).
There are also populations of Arizona (coues) and Carmen Mountains (carminis) white-tailed deer that inhabit the mountain mixed deciduous/pine forests of Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas extending southwards into Mexico.
White-Tailed Deer males one year of age or older have antlers. Antlers begin to grow in early spring, covered with a highly vascularised tissue known as velvet. Bucks either have a typical or non-typical antler arrangement. Typical is when the antlers are symmetrical on both sides and the points grow straight up off the main beam. Non-typical is usually when the antlers are asymmetrical and the points are going in any direction off the main beam. A buck's inside spread can be any were from 3-25 inches. Bucks shed their antlers when all females have been bred, from late December to February.
White-Tailed Deer males compete for the opportunity of breeding females. Sparring among males determines a dominance hierarchy. Bucks will attempt to copulate with as many females as possible, losing physical condition since they rarely eat or rest during the rut. The general geographical trend is for the rut to be shorter in duration at increased latitude.
White-Tailed Deer females enter estrus, colloquially called the rut, in the fall, normally in late October or early November, triggered mainly by declining photoperiod. Sexual maturation of females depends on population density. Females can mature in their first year, although this is unusual and would occur only at very low population levels. Most females mature at one or, sometimes, two years of age.
White-Tailed Deer does give birth to one, two or even possibly three spotted young, known as fawns in mid to late spring, generally in May or June. Fawns lose their spots during the first summer and will weigh from 44 to 77 pounds (20 to 35 kg) by the first winter. Male fawns tend to be slightly larger and heavier than females.
Communications, Sight, Smell and Sound:
During the breeding season, White-Tailed deer will rub-urinate, as process during which a deer squats while urinating so that urine will run down the insides of the deer's legs. The deer then rubs its metatarsal glands together, rubbing the urine into the tuft of hair found at this location. Secretions from the metatarsal gland mix with the urine and bacteria to produce a strong smelling odor. Also in breeding season, does release hormones and pheromones that tell bucks the doe is in heat and able to breed.
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