Hug for Monte, the photographer
DEER FACTS FROM DEERE (A YOUNG BUCK)
I was snacking in a wonderful yard containing a feast of flora and fauna when the master of the house (Monte) first saw me. He seemed pretty tame, so I didn’t run immediately. But my better nature won out when I heard a strange clicking noise coming from him, and I scooted off quickly.
But the buffet feast was so plentiful and yummy that I returned and stayed longer. This human Monte was there again, and I realized he wasn’t too scary, and the clicking noise he made was softer this time, so I hung around for a while, filling my belly.
I might note that the clicking sound the human made was a trigger finger—not on the feared gun, but on a camera that somehow created an image of me for his collection.
I’d like to tell you about myself—fondly named Deere by Monte’s wife—and my family.
I’m a whitetail deer.
In North America the elk, moose, caribou, mule deer and . blacktail deer are related to me. There are about 100 types of deer (30 recognized). All of us have some common characteristics.
ScientificaIly I’m part of the family Cervidae, order Artiodactyle—way too technical! Being an Artiodactyle simply means I have hoofs with an even number of toes. My scientific name Odocoileus virginianus,, but please call me Deere.
I’m also labeled an ungulate (hoofed animal) because each of my feet ends in a cloven or two-piece hoof.
Perhaps the children would like a page to color:
As a herbivore, I like tender young leaves, stems, shoots and in some areas acorns and mushrooms. Wild fruits and agricultural crops are especially great, but it’s rumored that this human rants and raves when us deer stand on our hind legs to reach the apples and pears on the fruit trees. Also, they have some kind of netting around their vegetable garden, so all I can do is look at the produce longingly.
Humans call me a buck, bull, stag, or hart, which means I’m a boy. Girl deer are called does, cows, or hinds, and our children are known as fawns or calfs
It’s easy to tell I’m a boy in the summer and autumn. My antlers—or racks—(No, they are NOT horns) reveal that fact.
I’m proud of my rack. It’s made of bone and has points, called tines. While it grows it is covered with velvet. It should reach its full growth this autumn. If my buck friends or I have many points it means we are healthy. Soon, when I have the velvet rubbed off my rack, you will see its ivory-colored tips.
Unfortunately, I will shed my antlers in the winter, so you will have a more difficult time identifying me as a boy. But not to worry. They will begin to grow back, about a half an inch a day, when the glorious spring arrives.
Did you know that antlers are the fastest growing living tissue on the face of the earth? It’s just one fact that makes me and my ilk unique.
I’m also proud of my speed and jumps. I can make vertical leaps of over two and a half meters and horizontal leaps of nine meters — that’s almost as long as a school bus.
The under parts of my body is white, and I have a white patch on my throat and another smaller band of white around my nose. The underside of my tail is also white—ergo, my title whitetail.
I’m told an adult buck weighs between 100 to 350 pounds. I don’t know how much I weigh because there are no scales here in the woodland. Our average life span (including does and under unhunted conditions) is 10 years.
Like other whitetail deer, I have a highly developed senses of sight, smell, and hearing.
I am very cautious and wary. If I sense danger in the air, I attempt to quietly sneak away. If I sense the danger is serious I become frightened and may utter a loud, snorting or blowing sound before I quickly run away. In doing so I raise my tail upwards like a flag, exposing its white underneath, to create a visual alarm to my nearby friends.
I’m pretty much a solitary beast. However, during the breeding season (humans refer to it as the rut), usually in November, I actively seek out does for mates (my favorite is Dierdre).
I often rub my rack against small saplings (humans call this a buck rub) or stomp on the ground to mark my territory, and I use it to fight with other bucks during the rut. Us bucks fight for the privilege of mating with the most does.
Well, I guess I’ve told you enough about me for now. Monte’s wife Carolyn was truly pleased by the pictures Monte took of me. Below is a picture of another creature taken by Carolyn.