White Tailed Deer

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White tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are one of the most common species of mammals seen in North America, the most common of large animals actually. The last official count of deer in the USA and Canada was done in 1982, at which time 15000000 were found at an average of 3 deer in every square kilometer. The deer are very much native and were hunted even by Native Americans. You may have even seen this species yourself. Some of the most common places to find them are in your own backyard, in parks, or even dazed at headlights in the middle of Winton Road. The deer is easy to spot. In the summer, it’s coat is reddish-brown and in the winter it is buff. All year around its underside and tail are completely white as well as having a white spot on its neck. The prime deer habitat consists of deciduous trees, primarily cottonwood, ash, willow, elm and box elder. However preferred, the woodland cover is not essential to the deer’s survival. In many areas, the deer have adapted to eat primarily agricultural crops (crops grown by humans). In many parts of the country, a deer’s diet may consist of up to 50% farm grown corn. Obviously the deer eat some native foods, such as some trees and bushes, particularly buck brush and rose, but along with small amounts of dogwood, chokecherry, plum, red cedar, pine, and many other species of plants. Forbs, particularly sunflowers, are important, however grasses and sedges are used only briefly in spring and fall. White tailed deer are the largest game animal in North America. This is due to their over abundance and annoyance to farmers. An average of 300000 deer are hunted down each year. A tragedy has been another 3000 are hit by cars every year. Many human efforts have been made to prevent these accidents, such as fencing and deer repellents near freeways, but many seem to think that hunting and controlling the population is the best way. When Europeans first settled in North America the white tailed deer were found only in southern parts of Canada.
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