Saturday, April 16, 2011

Camera Critters: Whitetail Deer: The Survivor

Gazing deeply into the eye of this wily Whitetail doe, one can sense the extreme alertness and intelligence that has kept her alive for almost nine years. She has raised several young bucks that are all gone now, yet she remains. Some of her fawns were shot by "thrill killers", wildlife criminals  who drive the roads late at night, locating deer with spotlights and shooting them just to watch them fall.

Whitetail Doe-A Veteran Survivor
Most of the buck fawns she has had through the years, grew into adults ,dispersed and were likely taken in hunting season. It is a sad commentary on the state of affairs that only one of the more than nine fawns she has had is still alive today.

Studies have shown that many if not most whitetail bucks disperse from their home range in the first autumn that they have antlers, which usually means when they are slightly less than 1 1/2 years old. If they do not do so then they usually disperse the following May, assuming they survive the fall hunting season,

Whitetail Buck With New Antler Growth In Mid-April
In rare cases they may remain in their home range past two years of age, but this is very unusual.  Does usually spend their entire life in the general area where they were born.  They may disperse short distances during fawning time and during the summer, but will often rejoin the main herd sometime during the autumn.  When one sees a large herd of deer they are usually looking at an extended family group, with all of the animals tracing their lineage to a doe that is at the top of the pecking order.  She is deferred to by the rest of the herd and performs the function of "lead doe".  In some cases an extremely large herd of deer may be a collection of these extended family groups.

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Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

16 comments:

ladyfi said...

Wow - that close-up of the eye is just stunning!

Dina said...

A doe's eye--what could be more touchingly beautiful.

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

willard, this is excellent. i read your info with baited breath...i have always questioned something...bossy and brownie were the first deer i met. i think they were the little twins who ventured out years ago into the 'corn' yard. bossy always has turned out bucks...sometimes twins, sometimes just one. but never a female. so i thought that they were sisters. brownie doesn't look like bossy and all of bossy's boys have that large white circle around their eyes. you are so correct about the young bucks...however, as you know. bossy's boy stayed here for three years before he was run over and died somewhere from his injuries. sigh....i wish they would just stay here with me. :)

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

Excellent shot!
I'm really impressed!
Betty

Visiting from Camera Critters

Gary said...

Really well done!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

The picture of the doe's eye is spectacular!

BJ Roan said...

All I can think of to say is Wow! Wonderful reflection shot!

HoodPhoto said...

So sad, but an amazing photo! Happy weekend to you!

eileeninmd said...

Fantastic closeup shot, the doe is so pretty.

Tammy said...

I love the reflection in her eye in that first shot.

They do have beautiful eyes.

Carletta said...

WOW Willard! Your first shot has left me breathless. Excellent capture of the reflection in the deer's eye!
It is sad to hear about the reckless regard for wildlife with the killing. I wouldn't want to know those folks.

BTW: I finally got a pretty good Gobbler shot I'll be posting Wednesday. I love this time of year. :)

Feral Female said...

That close-up was simply stunning Willard!

Stephani said...

Wonderful closeup! Just amazing.

Gretchen said...

That first photo is absolutely incredible! I learn so much about photographing wild animals every time I come here. You need to teach a course. I'll be the first to sign up!

Have a blessed Easter!

*Honest Abe said...

Heaven must be full of deer. I hope they find some peace there. Lord knows the interstates are littered with their carcasses not to mention "hunting seasons."

Ken Conger Photography said...

Awesome capture of the reflection in the eye! Keep up the insightful comments. Blue Skies.