Interesting Facts About Whitetail Deer

Have you ever wondered why deer eat at night and spend most of the day asleep in their bedding areas?

At Alert: He Senses that Hunters are Near!


This habit certainly has something to do with wanting to avoid hunters, but the grazing and eating habits also have something to do with their 4  chambered stomachs!

Basic Facts About Whitetails

Whitetail deer roam from Canada to Peru and from the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains to Florida.

Whitetails are in 45 of the 50 states; they are not in:  Alaska, California, Hawaii, Utah and Nevada.  However, their cousins, mule deer and black-tailed deer, are in some of these states.

Wikipedia states that the current population of whitetails (in the US) is about 30 million!

Here in Texas, the 4 million we have are:

  • in the piney woods of east Texas,
  • the hill country in the center of the state,
  • the flat lands of south Texas … and (now)
  • the desert regions of west Texas!

As you can see, whitetails are adaptable to different habitats.  As ‘ruminants,’ these mammals eat plant-based materials.  They soften it in the first stomach, regurgitate it, and re-chew it. (Yum!)

This process is helpful to avoid hunters!  They graze during the night hours, eating as much as they can find.  As light comes over the horizon, whitetails head for their beds, where they doze as their stomachs slowly digest the food.

Depending on where they live, they nosh on seeds, grasses, acorns, corn, berries — and occasionally, folk’s flower beds!

Because these 30 million are running out of room (due to man’s encroaching on their wild lands), whitetails are ‘nuisance animals’ in some areas.   When there isn’t enough food to support the deer population; they help themselves to local gardens and suburban plantings, dumpsters, etc.

Changing Fur

Whitetails always dress for the season!  In the spring and summer, they are reddish-brown.  When the weather cools down, they shed their summer colors and put on their heavier buff-gray-brown coat.

Fawns born in spring-summer, have a coat similar to the adults, with one exception — white spots (a la Bambi).  These spots fade to nothing by the time the fawn is 4 months of age.


Next Time: More Whitetail Deer info for inquiring minds!

(Whitetail’s antlers, spike deer and the rut)


‘Autumn Haze’ shown by permission of ClearVue Graphics!


This blog is a companion to my website:


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Published in: on October 25, 2010 at 8:20 am  Comments (1)