White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) fawns are born in late May and June after a gestation period of approximately 202 days. Fawns weigh 7 8 pounds when born and their weight may double in the first two weeks of life. Twins are the normal litter size, but triplets are not uncommon. Does can breed at 6 7 months, but most breed for the first time at 18 months old. Mature bucks can weigh 200 to 300 pounds, with females weighing 25 40% less. During fall, after antlers harden, bucks begin sparring and forming a dominance hierarchy that will determine who breeds does during the November December rut. Although bucks mark their area with scrapes, they do not really defend a territory. They rub small trees with their antlers to establish visual signposts, and they also establish olfactory signposts by urinating in pawed-out areas and by rubbing twigs with scent from their glands. Deer have four sets of external glands. All four hooves have a gland between the splits. The metatarsal gland is located on the outside of the hind leg above the hoof. The tarsal gland is located inside the rear leg at the hock. Both sexes, including fawns, urinate on the tarsal gland. The preorbital gland is located on the inside corner of each eye. Bucks will usually rub a twig above a scrape with the preorbital gland.
A buck will tend a doe for 1 3 days before her heat period and 2 or 3 days afterward. The doe is in heat (estrus) for 24 hours. If she fails to conceive, she will come into heat a couple of times again at 28-day intervals.
White-tailed bucks are more aggressive toward each other than are mule deer.
After the rut, deer of both sexes and all ages are intermingled. Unlike mule deer, whitetails will often winter in the same area where they spent the other seasons if food and shelter are sufficient. In some areas, whitetails will yard up, staying within a couple acres of cover rather than expose themselves to wind and more extreme weather.
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