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In the East the white-tailed deer was one of the first principal beneficiaries. The White-Tailed Deer are native to different parts of North and South America, and is the most widely-distributed ungulate of the former. I told you that habitat was fantastic. In the United States, the black-tailed or mule deer displaces the white-tailed deer west of the Rocky Mountains. Yet people questioned them. Wary, and expert at using cover, whitetails rarely offer the hunter a standing shot once jumped. https://www.britannica.com/animal/white-tailed-deer, New Hampshire Public Television - NatureWorks - White-tailed Deer, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - North American Mammals - White-tailed Deer, Michigon Department of Natural Resources - White-tailed Deer, National Park Service - White-tailed Deer. HISTORY OF THE WHITE DEER Several dozen wild white-tailed deer were probably caught within the fence that was built to surround the Seneca Army Depot in 1941. But be advised, our story will begin hundreds of years ago. It has been locally outcompeted in North America by sika and chital. Unregulated shooting, changes in land use, and other factors combined to all but eliminate deer … I wish my money in the bank grew that fast. History has never been my favorite subject. The white-tailed deer carries parasites that have seriously depleted populations of woodland caribou, moose, and elk and have significantly affected livestock. You're telling me that a normal Joe can become rich and spend more money than he has ever made in his life in a matter of a couple of years. The gestation period for white-tailed deer is slightly less than 7 months or between 190 and 210 days. Excellent range equals twice as many deer in two years. You're crazy! The white-tailed deer belongs to the family Cervidae, which includes elk, mule deer, moose, and caribou. Breeding occurs during the fall and winter, but may extend from late August through January. In another 10 years, the buck season was again closed. White-tailed deer have been prominent in human cultures in North America for thousands of years, likely gaining importance after mostspecies of mammalian megafauna went extinct during the Pleistocene, 12,000–15,000 years ago . Fawns are reddish, brown, or reddish-yellow spotted with white; they lose their spots and acquire uniform coloration at 3–5 months of age. (In fact, in some zones the bow season actually opens before the autumnal equinox!) Deer populations today have risen to approximately one million deer in North Carolina. The state tree, the Ohio Buckeye, is named because its nut resembles a deer, or buck's, eye. Deer, when granted some protection, readily exploit man-made disturbances caused by agriculture, forestry, and urbanization. Scientific Name – Odocoileusvirginianus Classification – Odocoileus Gender Names – Male – buck, stag; Female – doe; Baby – fawn Collective Noun – Herd, […] (13 percent success rate.) And if I was lucky, I would survive the 5-month journey across the Atlantic and in doing so "hit the jackpot.". Even those with a multimillion dollar paycheck can't seem to balance their budgets. Wary, and expert at using cover, whitetails rarely offer the hunter a standing shot once jumped. How about a trip down memory lane? By the mid-1800s, though, hunting and habitat destruction had reduced the herd. When I do win Powerball, I am sure my monetary worries will be over for life. The history of white-tailed deer in Missouri shows the positive and negative influences humans can have on wildlife (Figure 2). Scientists believe that deer once inhabited bitter-cold regions around the Arctic Circle. White-tailed deer, normally a cherished North American game animal, have even become pests in suburbs and cities in the United States and Canada. In urban areas these deer may become dangerous pests. Deer play an important role in our forests, and everyone admires their graceful beauty. Hunting by native peoples and predation by large carnivores kept deer populations in balance with … Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. While the "brush stage" of Pennsylvania forests was maintained for longer than normal because of fires, it only delayed the inevitable. I guess people's definition of honesty was different 100 years ago. It belongs to the subfamily of New World deer. Today the white-tailed deer is a popular game animal. How could deer not be resurrected? These animals were used extensively by Native Americans and early settlers for both food and clothing. Proudly founded in 1681 as a place of tolerance and freedom. We have been traveling together through Pennsylvania's deer management history for the past eight months. Can you guess what happened next? And winter kills were mounting. It wasn't until about 4 million years ago that the first deer migrated to what we now call the United States. 1951: First deer season in 58 years—three days in November. "Whitetails" have been a part of Penn's Woods for many centuries. Now, Will recommended that "care be taken to leave one acre of trees for every five acres cleared." C. P. Brown Game Research Investigator New York State Conservation Department ABSTRACT The white-tailed deer is New York's most important big game species. The population in Pennsylvania hit 300,000 by 1776, a 500 percent increase in just 60 years. (13 percent success rate.) 1956: Deer trapping and reloca… The Coues white-tailed deer is perhaps Arizona's finest game animal. White-tailed deer can be differentiated from mule deer by their distinct wide tail with a … White-tailed Deer - Natural History and Autumn Behavior : by Andrew Burnett Senior Wildlife Biologist To the deer hunter, the arrival of autumn means hunting season has arrived. The state banned deer harvest 1841. The White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, has been extremely important in Ohio's history. In 1681, when King Charles II gave William Penn his chunk of the new world and sealed the deal on our great state's name, 90 percent of Pennsylvania was forested — an estimated 27 to 28 million acres. This column has looked at deer hair and digestion, followed the glamorous life of a biologist, and busted some old wives' tales about our beloved state animal. Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, itself, supplied deer. Like the deer, elk, beaver and the turkey, how could so much ever be depleted? They trample down the snow in an area that is then known as a “deer yard.” Food includes leaves, twigs, fruits, and nuts, as well as lichens and fungi. White-tailed deer readily turn to orchards and other cultivated vegetation when available. These animals were used extensively by Native Americans and early settlers for both food and clothing. Deer grow a Populations near extinction in the early 1900’s have rebounded due to … White-tailed Deer have been in Ohio since the end of the last Ice Age. White-tailed deer were plentiful in Maryland at the time of settlement in the 1600s, but at density levels much lower than those observed today in most parts of the state. I mean who can't live out the rest of their days with $164 million. By 1840, the number of Pennsylvanians stood at three million. 1893: Last reported wild deer kill made in Knox County. I'm pretty sure it was added as the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not shoot does. Hunt History. In summer, white-tailed deer are reddish-brown to tan above; the winter the colors are grayish to grayish brown. Well, seven years later, after nearly all of the state's abundant game had disappeared and 70 percent of Penn's Woods had become agricultural fields, Phillips, along with other sportsmen, formed the Pennsylvania Sportsmen's Association. 1893: Last reported wild deer kill made in Knox County. The deer herd in 1931 was estimated at 800,000, while the carrying capacity of the range was 250,000. Joseph Kalbfus, the first executive director of the Game Commission, saw the problem as clear as day. It is probable that mixtures of these compounds are important in individual recognition, but specific compounds may also be important.…, The white-tailed deer is the best known of the mammals found in South Carolina. Hunting by native peoples and predation by large carnivores kept deer populations in balance with … By the mid-1800s, though, hunting and habitat destruction had reduced the herd. PDMA (Pennsylvania Deer Management Amnesia) has plagued the Game Commission for almost a century. Unless it has some life-altering effect (like being covered in chigger bites from the waist to the knees), most of our past is archived and only browsed occasionally at family functions. Hunters and lawmakers cried foul and accused the Commission of selling out to farmers and foresters. Market-hunting and habitat loss nearly extirpated deer from the state by 1900. 1943: Deer population estimated at 900 deer. It became abundant only after the last glaciation when the indigenous Ice Age fauna of the Americas became extinct and competitive and predation pressures were lifted. They have a very large number of subspecies spread across both the continents. Compared to the dozen other large terrestrial herbivores that survived in North America, white-tailed deer have many attractive characteristics. Jacklighting, salt licks, dogs – all were acceptable methods of meeting supply and demand. White-tailed deer belong to the order of artiodactyla and family Cervidae and may live up to 12 years in the wild, although they rarely reach anything over seven years of age. For many, the story of the white-tailed deer spans only a few decades, or as long as one person's memory. It it remained illegal to harvest deer in Delaware until 1954, when the population had rebounded. The state tree, the Ohio Buckeye, is named because its nut resembles a deer, or buck's, eye. Deer were abundant and a primary food source. Hunters in Pennsylvania have been harvesting more than 300,000 deer for more than 20 years. Some routes are burned into my brain, such as the 110 miles to State College or the 160 miles to Harrisburg. Now the Game Commission wanted to liberalize hunting. In 1907, the harvest dropped to 200 bucks and 30 illegal does. White-tailed deer can be differentiated from mule deer by their distinct wide tail with a … But were there any left to live in this new deer utopia? Director Kalbfus had a sense of humor — heaven knows you need it in this line of work. Sure, the deer and most of the other wildlife had all but vanished from the land of plenty, but game wasn't the only thing disappearing. Mr. Phillips tells his friend that "I have killed the last deer in Pennsylvania." They spent their money. In northern Minnesota, where the forest habitat was much different than it … As a species, the extend from the southern edge of the arctic prairies … The white-tailed deer population in North Carolina has made a dramatic turnaround. White-tailed deer have long legs and narrow hooves, which make them swift runners and good jumpers. A four township area in Clearfield County had an estimated 1,000 dead fawns. She rolled up her sleeves and got back to work. 1915 – Crop damage complaints; 1922 – forest regeneration problems; 1925-26 – investigations revealing deer overstocked the forests and laurel and rhododendron were destroyed in many places; 1931 – the Department of Forests and Waters publishes The Deer Problem in the Forests of Pennsylvania, documenting the extensive damage caused by deer. Deer History White-tailed deer have played a very important role in the history of our country. Mature males' antlers h… Five years later the buck harvest was more than 1,000. The history of white-tailed deer in Missouri shows the positive and negative influences humans can have on wildlife. Director Kalbfus noted the gathering clouds on the horizon. Because Pennsylvanians wanted the world and wanted it now, the Game Commission began a restocking program in 1906 to accelerate the return of the whitetail. Back when the population estimate of white-tailed deer was 300,000 — for the entire United States. White­tail deer are able to sur­vive in a va­ri­ety of ter­res­trial habi­tats, from the big woods of north­ern Maine to the deep saw grass and ham­mock swamps of Florida. The white-tailed deer predates the Ice Ages and is the oldest extant deer species. Its body and antlers are largest in cold temperate climates and on productive agricultural soils but are small in the tropics, in deserts, and on small islands. The deer populations before 1775 were healthy and stable because of good food and cover. And this is the trouble with the past. Two years later the buck harvest was more than 1,200 and by 1920, buck harvest was 3,300; more than 16 times what it was just 13 years before. Updates? Now where shall we go? This column has looked at deer hair and digestion, followed the glamorous life of a biologist, and busted some old wives' tales about our beloved state animal. The influx of European settlers to Missouri during the last half of the 19th century coincided with a rapid decline in the deer population. Reams of data were collected and indices were developed. While this deer varies greatly in size, it changes little in its external appearance over its huge range. 90,000-120,000 deer annually. One of the reasons we can sometimes win a battle with Mother Nature but never the war is because she is always changing her game plan. For example, it has not held its own against European deer after its introduction to New Zealand and Europe. The Maryland White-tailed Deer Management Plan (‘the deer plan’) documents the history of white-tailed deer and white-tailed deer management in Maryland (information on basic white-tailed deer biology can be found in Appendix 1). Can you really have too much of a good thing? Better late than never. What if I wasn't sure of how I would keep my family fed and warm through the winter? Mostly because no one paid them any mind. The White-tailed Deer is a browser, feeding on leaves, buds, and twigs of wide variety of plants. History really doesn't have to be that complicated. While the chestnut blight was wiping out more of Pennsylvania's forests, the deer were picking up the slack everywhere else. Perhaps for this reason, the species has become increasingly important in the harvest. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the past and what we can learn from it for the future. The doe is smaller and weighs in much lighter at 70 to 150 pounds. The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer native to North America, Central America, Ecuador, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia. By the time antlerless deer were protected, the drama had been unfolding in Pennsylvania for nearly 250 years. Farther south, white-tailed deer thrive on the forest borders and partially cleared areas. Everyone wanted more deer. Although the white-tailed deer of North and South America are currently recognized as one species, genetically these deer are further apart than are white-tailed and black-tailed deer in North America. The deer season (Aug 1 – Dec 1 with no limit) which had been set nearly a hundred years earlier, seemed to do little to slow the decline of this much-sought prize. Colonists had everything they needed and apparently all they really had to do was leave the door open on a cold night to wake up to a house full of game. In 15 years, deer populations had gone from one extreme to the other. Hunting is the number one cause of mortality for adult white-tailed deer in many parts of their range, including Tennessee. The General Assembly changed deer season in 1869, and in 1876, and, again, in 1895 (Oct 15 to Dec 15). What! Amnesia has two main features: an impaired ability to learn new information, and an impaired ability to recall past events. It it remained illegal to harvest deer in Delaware until 1954, when the population had rebounded. Needless to say, Director Kalbfus was not successful and noted, "Thank God I won't be in charge of this work 10 years from now, because someone is going to have hell to pay.". In the United States, the black-tailed or mule deer displaces the white-tailed deer west of the Rocky Mountains. Numbers were... Settlement. But the treasures that it held were beyond anything they dreamed of in their homeland. The History of Whitetail Deer 0 By HuntingNet Staff on January 1, 2008 Deer, Pages, staticpages Scientists believe that deer once inhabited bitter-cold regions around the Arctic Circle. How about a trip down memory lane? And people were hungry. Trees would retake Pennsylvania, but the forest would not look the same. Well, like it or not, we are going to recount the entire story of deer and deer management in Pennsylvania. I would much rather do stuff than read about people who did stuff. An endless deer buffet. But despite the claims of no deer left, Pennsylvania hunters harvested nearly 400,000 deer in 1997, the fourth highest harvest in history, despite an allocation that was the lowest it had been in the previous nine years. I'm sure my two dedicated fans would be disappointed; but, hey, those are the breaks. Words like "conservation" and "sustainable" were nonexistent. Moose and woodland caribou were the most abundant members of the deer family. White-tailed deer are herbivores, leisurely grazing on most available plant foods. Now where shall we go? History in Connecticut: Due to over-harvesting for venison and deerskins, market hunting, and a general loss of deer habitat caused by extensive clearing of the land for farming, white-tailed deer were uncommon in Connecticut from 1700 to approximately 1900. And there are other roads that I have traveled I'm not as intimately acquainted with. Deer populations today have risen to approximately one million deer in North Carolina. History Prehistory. White-tailed deer have played a very important role in the history of our country. Antlers normally … I guess it should come as no surprise, then, that the pioneers of Pennsylvania filed for natural resource bankruptcy as well. In 1950, the Game Commission started a campaign to educate hunters about deer and modern deer management. Special Requests to Use State Game Lands Information, Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). Deer play an important role in our forests, and everyone admires their graceful beauty. Come on, we've all been accused of having selective memories. The white-tailed deer population in North Carolina has made a dramatic turnaround. As a result of this improved knowledge, antlerless allocations climbed to account for varying deer reproduction, habitat and harvest success in different areas of the state. Pennsylvania was the land of plenty to those who settled here, her forests did not hold nor could they support the number of deer these "new" forests could. Odocoileus virginianus At the time of European settlement, white-tailed deer in Minnesota existed throughout the wooded river valleys and woodlands of central and southern Minnesota. The white-tailed deer is Pennsylvania's state animal. Keywords: white tailed deer, history, impact on natural resources Prepared by: David Jackson, Extension Educator Lesson Plan Grade Level: 6-12th Total Time Required for Lesson: 3 hours classroom and research time Setting: Classroom, library, computer room Topics: history, population shifts, impact on natural resources Goals for the Lesson. But Pennsylvania wasn't excellent deer range; it was exceptional, outstanding, superb deer range. And instead of succeeding into pole stage forest 15 to 20 years after the big cut at the turn of the century, young brushy forest conditions persisted for several decades by repeated fires. And in 1907, Pennsylvania became a buck-only hunting state. White-tailed deer, (Odocoileus virginianus), also called Virginia deer, common American deer of the family Cervidae (order Artiodactyla) that covers a huge range from the Arctic Circle in western Canada to 18 degrees south of the Equator in Peru and Bolivia. History has never been my favorite subject. In presettlement times, white-tailed deer were fairly abundant in Missouri, especially in the more fertile, diverse habitats of the northern part of the state. But that's when amnesia set in, and as George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." This pattern continued for decades. My history of raspberry picking taught me that chiggers are more active at cooler temperatures and that I should always tuck my shirt in. But fear not, market hunters (those who turned a profit from their ability to harvest wildlife) did their duty by supplying settlements with a steady stream of deer and other game. That year more than 170,000 antlerless deer were harvested. White-tailed deer are the smallest member of the deer family in North America, ranging in size from 150 to 310 pounds for bucks and 90 to 210 pounds for does. This is why I decided to take this trip through Pennsylvania's deer management history. As you may recall, the subject of this column a year ago was the reproductive potential of white-tailed deer. They also in­habit farm­lands, brushy areas and such des­o­late areas of the west such as the cac­tus and thorn­brush deserts of … White-tailed deer can live to 18 years, but few deer in the wild live that long. In the tropics reproduction may take place year-round. While this experience is burned into my memory, most "history" is not experienced firsthand. Let's face it. Because it seems that many have amnesia when it comes to this subject. Deer are graceful, sleek and have long legs, which makes them look taller than their actual height of 35 to 38 inches. They believed it was an inherent right to take what they wanted at will. Isolated from predators and hunters, the deer population grew quickly. They range throughout Michigan and are a game animal in this state. Before its creation, most hunters thought a state wildlife agency was a great idea — it meant there would be more game. The White-tailed Deer is a browser, feeding on leaves, buds, and twigs of wide variety of plants. I mean a good thing is a good thing no matter how much there is. White-tailed deer have been prominent in human cultures in North America for thousands of years, likely gaining importance after mostspecies of mammalian megafauna went extinct during the Pleistocene, 12,000–15,000 years ago . Holy cow, the deer hit the jackpot! At five, not getting that blue ball in Target was the end of the world, but after graduating high school, obtaining two advanced degrees, making a life in four different states thousands of miles from friends and family, getting married with all its up and downs, that blue ball is small potatoes. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. In southern Ontario the wild turkey, which had…, house mouse and the white-tailed deer. I have done and still do a lot of traveling inside and outside the state. The first buck-only season resulted in less than 200 bucks being harvested, and the state's first accident-free deer season. Upon Completion of this lesson students will be able to: Description The most characteristic feature of the white-tailed deer is the white underside of its tail or "flag" that is flashed when disturbed. 1943: Deer population estimated at 900 deer. And the older I get, the more I realize that life is all about perspective. The adult white-tailed deer has a bright reddish summer coat and a duller grayish brown winter coat; the underparts are white. He wrote that elk, deer, raccoons, beaver, rabbits, turkeys and pigeons were so plentiful that "they run in droves into the house in cold weather." History of the White-tailed Deer in Pennsylvania The Early Days. Keywords: white tailed deer, history, impact on natural resources Prepared by: David Jackson, Extension Educator Lesson Plan Grade Level: 6-12th Total Time Required for Lesson: 3 hours classroom and research time Setting: Classroom, library, computer room Topics: history, population shifts, impact on natural resources Goals for the Lesson. While the educational campaign of the 1950s succeeded in establishing an annual antlerless season, we all know it did little else to quiet deer harvest debates. Inconceivable. Historic accounts notethat furs sent out from the various posts upon the Illinois River included10,000 deer, 300 bear, 10,000 raccoon, 35,000 muskrat, 400 otter, 300 pounds ofbeaver, 500 cat and fox and 100 mink, having a total value placed at $23,700.During this time period, a 60­â€“100 pound whitetail sol… In 1904, three more were shot. It became abundant only after the last glaciation when the indigenous Ice Age fauna of the Americas became extinct and competitive and predation pressures were lifted. Perhaps for this reason, the species has become increasingly important in the harvest. But sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Many deer managers, protective of their prized mule deer herds, resent the “invasion” of the white-tailed deer into areas previously unoccupied by the “lesser species.” What if the grocery store was the great outdoors and the shelves were barely stocked? White-tailed Deer - Natural History and Autumn Behavior : by Andrew Burnett Senior Wildlife Biologist To the deer hunter, the arrival of autumn means hunting season has arrived. 1900 – Market/subsistence hunting and unregulated harvest eliminate nearly all deer from the state. Its high speed in running, its legendary skills at hiding, and its ability to move silently reflect severe pressure from extinct American Ice Age predators. Compared to the dozen other large terrestrial herbivores that survived in North America, white-tailed deer have many attractive characteristics. Penn's Woods, themselves, could have been classified as an endangered species. Please enable scripts and reload this page. The white-tailed deer predates the Ice Ages and is the oldest extant deer species. What did she do? Fires raged and erosion washed away topsoil, fouling creeks and streams. Legislators made promises to stop the season as well. . And the colonists did what anyone would do if they hit the lottery. White-tailed deer are polygamous breeders: one male mates with several females during a breeding season. Perhaps it is inconceivable to you and me — the poor schmucks who haven't won the lottery. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were common in Delaware when European settlers first arrived. Upon Completion of this lesson students will be able to: 1953-1955: 111 deer released throughout the state, with last releases in Sullivan and Ripley counties. 1951: First deer season in 58 years—three days in November. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were common in Delaware when European settlers first arrived. Extensive clearing of land, unregulated hunting, and loss of habitat brought the white-tailed deer population to a record low by the late 1800’s. After five years of labor, the Game Commission was born, in 1895. Deer were plentiful when European settlers first arrived, but the animals were hunted extensively for meat and hide with no thought of conservation or management. Well, the "honest" people of Pennsylvania had had enough of this wildlife protection nonsense by 1903. It took another seven years before antlerless season, a fundamental component of deer management, became an annual occurrence. The science of deer management took root in the 1960s and '70s. The influx of European settlers to Missouri during the last half of the 19th century coincided with a rapid decline in the deer population. Mating is quick and unceremonious. Isolated from predators and hunters, the deer population grew quickly. White-tailed deer have been introduced into Europe and the Caribbean and are farmed in New Zealand. So let's recap â€” European colonists arrived in Pennsylvania around 1650ish and 250 years later predators are wiped out, game species are overharvested and extirpated, half of the state's trees are gone, the Game Commission is created, and millions of acres of deer food replaced vast mature forests. Something had to take their place. Prior to European settlement, deer provided a staple for Native Americans who inhabited present-day Pennsylvania. The buck guards and mates with the female for a day before searching for another female in heat. Oh, boy, this was not going to go over well. In C. S. Lewis 's 1950 fantasy novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the adult Pevensies, now kings and queens of Narnia , chase the White Stag on a hunt, as the Stag is said to grant its captor a wish. Buckeye is based on the Native American word "hetuck," meaning "eye of the buck." . " History of the White-tailed Deer in Pennsylvania The Early Days. Yet the deer herd continued to increase, even as the forests began to change. Lesson learned. The history of white-tailed deer in Missouri shows the positive and negative influences humans can have on wildlife (Figure 2). White-tailed Deer In West Texas the white-tailed deer is a species that attracts a wide range of opinions. Depleted resources at home and unknown riches abroad spurred the exploration and "discovery" of new worlds. History of White-tailed Deer in Oklahoma. Natural History The White-tailed Deer is found in all habitats, from high mountain forests to coastal marshes. The harvest in 1907 was 230 deer. And so had the attitude of hunters. Limited male only harvests, absent predators, abundant regenerating clearcuts, frequent fires holding back forest succession, and an agency pulling out all the stops to return game to the state. Ross Leffler, a prominent figure in Game Commission and Pennsylvania conservation history, said, "Sportsmanly chivalry has become so deeply-rooted that we are finding the second step in game restoration the hardest — getting sportsmen to realize that it is just as important to limit the number of species to within its food supply…" That was in 1931. Deer History. Oh, the things I would do. I sure did. During pre-settlement times, the whitetail was abundant in Missouri. That is until June rolled around and the sun was shining and the grass was green and I was cooped up in a classroom making up those gems of. Truer words were never spoken. Within a remarkably short time restoration efforts in one state after another bore fruit. I remember this day in my personal history because it was unseasonably cool, and I got the worst case of chiggers in my life. Deer were an integral part of Native American’s lives. Life is a grand teacher. Forgetting the common history of the whitetail exposes us to silly mistakes — like forgetting to tuck your shirt in while standing in waist high raspberry brambles in July. In 1906, the year before the buck-only hunting regulation, the harvest was roughly 800 deer, 350 of which were bucks. The average number of deer-vehicle collisions per day in Pennsylvania is 275. A free day to play in the snow, drink hot chocolate, and drive your mother crazy. (In fact, in some zones the bow season actually opens before the autumnal equinox!) Over the next six years the allocation steadily declined as hunters griped about seeing too few deer. While the records show a handful of antlerless deer were harvested from 1923 to 1926, the first "statewide" antlerless season occurred in 1928. In presettlement times, white-tailed deer were fairly abundant in Missouri, especially in the more fertile, diverse habitats of the northern part of the state. Hunt History. Then, in 1979, after years of collecting deer population and habitat data, deer density goals were established based on forest stage (seedling/sapling, pole and saw timber). Extensive clearing of land, unregulated hunting, and loss of habitat brought the white-tailed deer population to a record low by the late 1800’s. 1956: Deer trapping and reloca… By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. As communities grew, wildlife surrounding them disappeared. They went to court, wrote letters to newspaper editors, and signed petitions to close the antlerless season. History can take many forms — natural history, world history, personal history. So, once again, the old saying held true — you can't have your cake and eat it too. Its history in the State is traced as a background for understanding its present status and the kind of management called for. People were up in arms. Legislature bans deer harvest. The smallest variety, the Key deer of Florida, stands 76 cm (30 inches) at the shoulder and weighs 23 kg (50 pounds). Pennsylvania's "new" forests would be oak and cherry and maple and birch — millions and millions of tender, sweet, mouthwatering seedlings all growing at the same time with a healthy helping of greenbiar, elderberry, viburnum and asters. Deer were plentiful when European settlers first arrived, but the animals were hunted extensively for meat and hide with no thought of conservation or management. Buckeye is based on the Native American word "hetuck," meaning "eye of the buck." Does typically live longer than bucks presumably because rutting behavior predisposes bucks to higher losses due to hunting, motor vehicle collisions, physical injuries, and depletion of fat reserves going into the winter. While clearing the land for agriculture certainly caused its fair share of tree mortality, it was the lumber industry that waged war on Pennsylvania forests. The rising tide of deer hit 900,000 in the early '80s, with densities surpassing 50 deer/forest square mile in some areas — way above any habitat-based goal. According to Game Commission records, 1,192 deer were purchased during that period. At the time of European settlement, white-tailed deer in Minnesota existed throughout the wooded river valleys and woodlands of central and southern Minnesota. Native Americans depended on white-tailed deer as a source of food, clothing, shelter, and goods for trading. History in Connecticut: Due to over-harvesting for venison and deerskins, market hunting, and a general loss of deer habitat caused by extensive clearing of the land for farming, white-tailed deer were uncommon in Connecticut from 1700 to approximately 1900. The history of white-tailed deer in Missouri shows the positive and negative influences humans can have on wildlife. With policy set and goals in hand, the Game Commission got on the deer management turnpike. But it is true. Hunters were enraged. Author of. By the mid-20th century, however, it had been restored to great abundance by game-management measures throughout North America. Climate change has allowed the white-tailed deer to expand its presence in Canada in recent years. And the dwindling numbers of deer certainly didn't stop anyone from hunting them even if it was within season. However, its overabundance where protected from predation and from adequate hunting has led to severe damage to forestry and agriculture, to high levels of collisions with cars and trucks and resulting injuries and fatalities among motorists, as well as to an upswing in dangerous transmissible diseases such as Lyme disease. But, amazingly enough, the antlerless allocation continued to rise until 1991, until the familiar howls of the disgruntled rose above common sense. Omissions? By repeated marking, house mice produce accretions of urine at “marking posts,” and a dominant male may mark 100–200 times in an hour. First, white-tailed deer are widely distributed and much of the species’ range includes some of the most productive habitats on the contin… It is the number one game animal in the south. There are also numerous smaller mammals, including gray and red squirrels, minks, raccoons, muskrats, skunks, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, groundhogs, and a variety of mice and moles. Hunting is the number one cause of mortality for adult white-tailed deer in many parts of their range, including Tennessee. Don't get me wrong, deer in Pennsylvania had nearly disappeared from the landscape. Deer are graceful and swift runners (up to 35 miles per hour), but do not generally run long distances, preferring to seek the nearest shelter whenever possible. Native Americans depended on white-tailed deer as a source of food, clothing, shelter, and goods for trading. Could perspective be the cure? Forests were reaching pole stage. After all, shooting antlerless deer was the sole reason deer disappeared, and not shooting them brought them back, right? Their short tail stands erect when alarmed, displaying white fur on the underside. Well, that fits. But wait…you mean I can't hunt where I want, when I want, and take what I want. But that was about to change. Within 100 years, deer were threatened with extirpation in North Carolina, as well as in the entire United States. Yet hunters managed to kill another 250,000 deer over the next two years. Williamsport became known as the lumber capital of the world, and in 1899 Pennsylvania hit its peak annual lumber production of 2.3 billion board feet. White-tailed deer are the smallest of the three members of the deer family found in Michigan, the others being elk and moose. But the storm would gain strength and pound the landscape for decades. The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer native to North America, Central America, Ecuador, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia. Normal Joe (the one who spent all his money in the bank) thought game protectors were nothing more than an annoyance sent to prosecute "honest" people. Well, their wish came true. But remember having to go to school in June stinks. Phillips lobbied the legislature for an agency that would protect the wildlife they so loved. It also describes the current status of white- The first white deer, a buck and a fawn, were spotted in the Depot in 1949. 1934-1942: 296 deer purchased for release from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. (And here I thought numbers in the billions were reserved for the 21st century). In 1965, hunters killed more than 65,000 bucks, shattering the 1957 high of 49,000, and then eclipsed the new record two years later, with a harvest of more than 78,000. Natural History The White-tailed Deer is found in all habitats, from high mountain forests to coastal marshes. Prime areas are those which have a mix of forest, old fields and active crop lands. The first white deer, a buck and a fawn, were spotted in the Depot in 1949. HISTORY OF THE WHITE DEER Several dozen wild white-tailed deer were probably caught within the fence that was built to surround the Seneca Army Depot in 1941. Large males can stand as high as 106 cm (42 inches) at the shoulder and can weigh up to 180 kg (400 pounds). The key word, of course, is nearly. Does typically live longer than bucks presumably because rutting behavior predisposes bucks to higher losses due to hunting, motor vehicle collisions, physical injuries, and depletion of fat reserves going into the winter. No wonder people go bankrupt after winning the lottery. The "great majority" of hunters were pleased with the new law not only for the protection of the deer herd but for the "feeling of personal security." That's when the first field officer was shot. In time, Penn's Woods were transformed for agriculture, providing even more food for the growing numbers of residents of the commonwealth. What was left was barren, stump-studded, burned over hillsides — a venerable moonscape in which Pennsylvania's wildlife (what was left) could not reside. I would much rather do stuff than read about people who did stuff.But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the past and what we can learn from it for the future. In 1983, the antlerless allocation was above 500,000 for the first time. The white-tailed deer is a specialist in exploiting disrupted forest ecosystems, but it is a poor competitor when faced with other species. In the 1942 Walt Disney Pictures film, Bambi is a white-tailed deer, while in Felix Salten's original 1923 book Bambi, a Life in the Woods, he is a roe deer. White-tailed deer can live to 18 years, but few deer in the wild live that long. Deer have not been an endangered species in this state since 1900. But no matter, this was "the grossest miscarriage of justice ever perpetuated upon the sportsmen of Pennsylvania." I think you know the road by now. During flight the hair is flared, and the tail is held aloft like a signaling flag. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Unregulated shooting, changes in land use, and other factors combined to all but eliminate deer … "White-tailed" refers to the distinctive white tail that when raised is a flag and provides a flash of white, signaling other deer when there is danger. And deer were a good thing. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate. Buck season was closed for the first time in state history. Those who pursued deer wrote of taking three with one shot, seven in one day, and 100 in one fall. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. The venison that was not sold or traded was salted and used by the colonists themselves. Prior to European settlement, deer provided a staple for Native Americans who inhabited present-day Pennsylvania. And why not? In less than 15 years the mind-set of hunters went from three days of tracking and killing the "last deer in Pennsylvania" to vehement "opposition to the ruthless slaughter of does." You've read about them in the paper, seen them on the news. Half of Pennsylvania's vast forests were gone. Hunters exclaimed, "Pennsylvania's deer herd is ruined!" The 1928 antlerless season resulted in the harvest of 25,097 antlerless deer and the resignation of Executive Director John Truman. This Game Commission thing is for the birds. Its population in the Piedmont had declined severely by the 1940s, but restocking from the Coastal Plain and restoration of forests have now ensured its statewide distribution. Remember John Phillips, the man who believed he killed the last deer in Pennsylvania in 1883. In 1682, when William Penn arrived in his newly acquired province, he was flabbergasted at the natural wealth he found. At the turn of the 20th century everybody wanted more deer. Peak breeding usually occurs in November. In as little as 10 years, Pennsylvania had gone from having few deer to too many in some areas. White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were once so rare that in the early 1900s, Illinois State Museum curators had to arrange to get specimens from Wisconsin for exhibit. Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh were all well-established cities by 1800, with growing populations. Keystone State. That was pretty much the attitude of the general populous of Pennsylvania. Of course, hunters of that era didn't have the hang ups that we do today. They also in­habit farm­lands, brushy areas and such des­o­late areas of the west such as the cac­tus and … 1934-1942: 296 deer purchased for release from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The gestation period averages 202 days; twins are often born. They have excellent hearing due to their large, sensitive ears. This might be my situation if I had lived in Europe during the era of colonization. White-tailed deer, normally a cherished North American game animal, have even become pests in suburbs and cities in the United States and Canada. It seems after 10 years of bloodshed, both human and wildlife, the good citizens of PA finally decided to at least have their cake even if they couldn't eat it too. The Coues white-tailed deer is perhaps Arizona's finest game animal. The Game Commission floundered for the first few years. In 1976, the Game Commission adopted a new deer policy recognizing "that deer belong to all citizens of the commonwealth and that recreational hunting is a privilege, not a right." When the Game Commission began restricting hunting, people were up in arms. White-tailed Deer have been in Ohio since the end of the last Ice Age. The typical weight of an adult buck (male) is 100 to 250 pounds with a shoulder height of 3½ to 4 feet. During the mating season in November and December, much of the courtship is carried on at a run; many males try to keep up with the speedy female. Mothers sometimes raise daughters to adulthood and then depart, leaving their home range to the daughters. Other species, such as the…. The white-tailed deer was formerly greatly reduced in its range and abundance by unrestricted hunting. 1953-1955: 111 deer released throughout the state, with last releases in Sullivan and Ripley counties. Quite unintentionally, our forefathers created perfect circumstances for the roaring comeback of our soon-to-be state animal. White-tailed deer range from the Yukon in Canada through the United States (except Hawaii and Alaska) and Central America south to Brazil and Bolivia. In northern Minnesota, where the forest habitat was much different than it is today, deer were absent or rare. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate. Transplants of a few animals mushroomed to thousands within a few years. An entire Game News was dedicated to "Our Deer Problem." When Europeans came to the New World, the white-tailed deer played an important role in providing food. But no matter how beaten and abused, Mother Nature never surrenders. Most of us are only concerned with what happens today. Joseph Kalbfus was right. Recall that there were only 300,000 living deer in the entire country slightly more than a hundred years ago. But under this "new" system things were working just fine. Whitetail Deer History Scientists believe that deer once inhabited bitter-cold regions around the Arctic Circle. The natural resource account was busting at the seams and the bank was always open. For example, I spent a lovely cool July 4th picking raspberries several years ago. As you well know, life was not all roses and daisies for colonists of the New World. Prime areas are those which have a mix of forest, old fields and active crop lands. Recalling only the parts we like or that suit our cause instead of what actually happened. It happened in the past. First, white-tailed deer are widely distributed and much of the species’ range includes some of the most productive habitats on the contin… Corrections? Director Kalbfus began the crusade for an antlerless license in 1917, But does were worshipped by Pennsylvanians. What is better than waking up to the stillness and beauty of fresh snow? White-tailed deer may live apart from each other in summer but may form big herds in winter on open prairies or in forests. Many deer managers, protective of their prized mule deer herds, resent the “invasion” of the white-tailed deer into areas previously unoccupied by the “lesser species.” So what if I did live the "hard" life? I couldn't get enough of them. It has also been introduced to New Zealand, all the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico ), and some countries in Europe, such as the Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, Serbia, Germany, and France. White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were once so rare that in the early 1900s, Illinois State Museum curators had to arrange to get specimens from Wisconsin for exhibit. Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, Faculty of Environmental Design, The University of Calgary. The white-tailed deer get its name from the long white hair on the underside of the tail and rump. That's right — the entire white-tailed population in 1890 was less than last year's statewide harvest. Who wouldn't support that? Deer, when granted some protection, readily exploit man-made disturbances caused by agriculture, forestry, and urbanization. Seeing the track of one was enough to call off school. The white-tailed deer is Pennsylvania's state animal. Granted, I don't live in poverty and I'm pretty sure of my next meal, but not having to worry about everyday things anymore is very appealing. It wasn’t until about 4 million years ago that the first deer migrated to what we now call the United States. Hemlocks and white pine had their heyday. Ever dream of hitting Powerball? The state banned deer harvest 1841. White-tail Deer, Odocoileus virginianus White-tailed deer belong to the order of artiodactyla and family Cervidae and may live up to 12 years in the wild, although they rarely reach anything over seven years of age. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). Not having to go to school! Well, I'm not quite sure I believe that but, the fact is, Pennsylvania was teaming with wildlife, and the effort required to obtain it was far less than anything experienced in the Old World. What could go wrong? The White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, has been extremely important in Ohio's history. 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