The common name refers to the tail; it is black/brown above and white below. White-tailed deer vary in size depending on the habitat. Adult male deer in Florida average 115 pounds, but can reach 190 pounds or more in North Florida. The smaller females average 90 pounds with larger females weighing 120 pounds or more.
Throughout most of the year it’s easy to tell males from females. The males, or bucks, have antlers, and they grow a new set every year. Antler growth generally begins in the spring and by the summer the antlers are covered with a velvety tissue that dries up and peels off. The buck rubs the antlers against trees, which eventually removes the remaining velvet, leaving the antlers hard and smooth. Antlers are important features during the animal’s breeding season when bucks will often fight to establish dominance. Antlers are shed in late winter or early spring after the breeding season ends.
Deer are most active at dawn and dusk. They are primarily browsers, feeding on the leaves, shoots, flowers and fruits of trees, and shrubs. Occasionally, they may browse and damage planted shrubs, landscaping or cultivated crops.
It is important to avoid contact with fawns. Although fawns are able to run and follow their mothers shortly after birth, they protect themselves from predators by hiding in tall vegetation. The fawns have no scent and during this time the female limits contact with her fawn, except to nurse, so that her scent will not attract predators and mark the fawn’s hiding place. After a couple of weeks, the fawn begins to accompany the doe as she forages. The brown hair with white spots provides excellent camouflage for the fawn. So if you approach a fawn and it does not flee please leave it alone. You can be assured that its mother is not far away.