Whitetail deer hunting is enjoyed by many people for a variety of different reasons. Some stalk trophies in pursuit of monster racks and beautiful mounts, while others hunt because they simply enjoy the taste of wild venison. No matter what draws someone into the sport, at the end of the day hunters are out to achieve success against an animal intricately designed for detection and avoidance. Regardless of what drives each hunter in their pursuit, each one can increase their success rate with a simple understanding of how whitetails work. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, the best advantage in battle is to know your adversary better than you know yourself. With that in mind, lets go over a few whitetail deer facts to try to understand these majestic creatures a bit better.
There are many whitetail deer facts that all hunters should know. Deer are powerful swimmers and can run close to 40 miles per hour. They reproduce once a year and their mating season is colloquially known as “the rut.” Males grow a new set of antlers once a year, increasing in size until around the age of five. But other whitetail deer facts may not be as well known, such as the fact that whitetails lick their noses to moisten them, using that moisture to collect scent particles and increase their olfactory capacity.
Some whitetail deer facts are essential to proper harvesting guidelines and game management. Consider this: antlers are the fastest growing living tissue in the world. Depending on various factors like nutrition and genetics, the antlers of a whitetail buck can grow as much as ½ inch per day. Considering the rate of growth of the animals themselves, that fact is pretty incredible. Deer also reproduce at a prolific pace. Left alone, with no influence from predators or people, two mature deer can produce thirty-five offsprings in less than seven years.
One of the most interesting of all whitetail deer facts has to do with their ears. We’re all aware of just how keen whitetail’s powers of detection can be. They almost always seem to see you before you see them, and their sense of smell is so notorious that a trip to the local sporting goods store reveals half an aisle of various de-scenting shampoos for the serious hunter. However, the most powerful of all whitetail’s senses is their hearing. Deer have special muscles that allow their ears to move in any and all directions without ever flinching their head. Their hearing is so acute that experts believe that deer can effectively determine the distance of object up to several hundred yards just by the noise emitted.
Some whitetail deer facts are just plain bizarre. Take, for instance, this one about the largest whitetail ever bagged. The average weight of a mature whitetail is between 160-210 pounds, depending on the region, vegetation, etc. The largest whitetail on record was taken out of Minnesota in 1926 and weighed in at 511 pounds. How about the fact that the oldest whitetail recorded was between 19 and 20 years old? Considering that deer rarely live past 10 in the wild, that is one astoundingly old deer.
If living is about one thing, it’s learning. That’s the one of the great things about hunting whitetail deer, the never-ending learning process that goes along with it. Whether they know it or not, time spent in the field will inevitably result in hunters acquiring long lists of whitetail deer facts. The challenge is to be conscious of this fact collecting and to make a concerted effort to not only increase this learning process but to apply it as well.