Whitetail Deer: Habits

Does prefer solitude and stay close to their young during fawning time to provide food and protection. Often times we view does and their new fawns join previous offspring to form a family group of four to six deer. They then stay together most of the year. Wishes For Wildlife Foundation members identify “families” by their distinctive markings and similarities. Bucks typically do not take part in the care and upbringing of fawns and usually remain solitary during the spring and summer. Interestingly, members of Wishes For Wildlife Foundation have viewed bucks and fawns touching noses and sharing licks during the summer months.

Whitetail bucks may be found together during the breeding season, but one buck will be dominant and will mate with most of the does in his territory. Short jousting matches and the interlocking of antlers establish this dominance. Although it’s the end of summer now, members of Wishes For Wildlife Foundation are beginning to witness smaller bucks engaging in mock jousting! Bucks will rejoin their family groups during the winter months. These small herds then “herd up” and join other herds to make one large group. The largest group we have witnessed during winter months on our South Pond dam was upwards of 75.

Whitetails can run at speeds up to 35 mph. They typically prefer to slip away from danger or remain motionless while it passes. These deer are excellent jumpers and can quite easily clear an eight-foot fence as necessary. Amazingly, they are also good swimmers and can safely cross-large rivers.