Your Guide to Whitetail Does

Whitetail deer have specific habits. Like the rest of the animal kingdom, behaviors are season and gender-specific, between mating and raising their young. Whitetail does aren’t naturally aggressive creatures, unless their young are threatened. There’s a good deal of complexity that come to doe over buck, and we’re about to explore what makes them tick.

Whitetail Does and Mating Season

Mating season happens in fall, consequentially, the same time as the buck rut. They fight for dominance in selecting their doe, and will go antler-to-antler with other buck. Unlike other parts of the animal kingdom, the doe actually has full control in who she selects to mate with. Once they’ve mated, buck roam on their own and are not around for the birth of their fawn, and rarely ever return. If it does happen, it’s by pure happenstance; whitetail does aim to raise their fawn on their own. Once successfully pregnant, whitetail doe will wander for 6-7 months before having their offspring in the fall.

Whitetail Does and Their Fawn

Doe are extremely protective of their fawn. After their birth, doe will stay with their fawn for up to one year. Doe are not violent, but when it comes to protecting their young, if they cannot flee, they will stand their ground. Some hunters have reported that getting close to a doe who is around her fawn is as dangerous as nearing a buck in rut. While they don’t have the same physical prowess or size that a buck does, their ferocity rivals a mature buck.

Whitetail Does and the Population

Because a doe can have up to three offspring in a single mating season, and many will mate 2-4 times before they die (on average), there’s the potential for each doe to add a dozen more whitetail deer into the population. In certain areas, the whitetail deer population has become an epidemic of sorts. There’s controlled burning, and the thinning of various forest areas, all in an effort to control this population. They leave parasites and bacteria, and in large supply, they can damage the ecosystem.

Whitetail doe stay with their young for a year; until they mate again. From that point on, they repeat this pattern. Their fawn enter the age range where they begin the same process. You can see how this can quickly branch out.

Whitetail Does Speed

In most areas of life, lighter and smaller means it can move faster. In the whitetail doe’s case, that’s not exactly true. Whitetail buck can be surprisingly fast in comparison, leaving doe in the dust, and here’s why: doe are lighter (usually about 100+ pounds) but as a result, they’re also less lengthy. Whitetail doe can still run as fast speeds, but they’re more likely to get caught up in the range of an amateur hunter than a buck is. Their shorter body makes for more narrow leaps, bringing their overall speed down just a bit. If a herd were to run away at the sound of a predator, a buck would stand a better chance at creating a gap between himself and the rest of the herd. Even so, whitetail doe can run at speeds of 30-35 MPH, while buck can manage 40 MPH

Diet and Prime Habitat

Whitetail does are foragers, more so than buck. While the buck is larger, and can require a substantial amount of food in comparison, doe don’t have antlers to get in the way of finding low-hanging foliage and vegetation. In short, they’re far better foragers due to their smaller size. While it’s not the best when fleeing a situation, it does come in handy for teaching their fawn how to hunt for food for their own fawn in the future, and so on.

Their most common habitat during all months, except for summer, are dense woods. This is where they find an overgrowth of their diet, (which consists of over 600 different menu items), and have the best chance to avoid predators. During summer, when they’re out in grassy meadow areas, bobcats and mountain lions are able to outrun them and close the gap. Summer is the most common time for whitetail deer to be thinned out naturally by predators.

Stats of the Whitetail Doe

  • Few whitetail doe live to be older than five. In most cases, they die between their second and third year.
  • Doe and buck alike have a four-chambered stomach. This allows them to digest really rough foliage and vegetation. In most cases, deer will eat quickly without chewing a single bite, and when they’re in a safe location at a later date, they’ll cough up the food, and then chew and swallow it.
  • Depending on the season, whitetail deer coats change. For doe, it takes about two weeks when the seasons change, and their colors are brighter than most buck.
  • Doe can swim faster than buck due to their smaller size—that’s one area that they outdo them in. Doe can swim up to 13 miles per hour—a remarkable speed.
  • If you think you’ve seen a doe, but they have antlers, you’re not crazy. Depending on a doe’s specific diet, she can create increased levels of testosterone in her body, making her grow small antlers.
  • Whitetail doe are more susceptible to hearing potential predators because they don’t have antlers. With whitetail buck, as they mature, slowly ignore the vibrations that riddle their antlers when they move. Distant sounds can mimic the same vibrations, so a hunter or predator would have to be much closer in order to spook a buck than they would a doe.
  • Whitetail doe tend to weigh roughly around 150 pounds, and stand about 3”. In some cases, depending on the season, whitetail doe can be as light as 90 pounds when prioritizing their fawn’s food supply over their own.
  • Doe’s tail length can be up to 14’—think of the forearm of a child; that’s roughly the same length as that little tuft on the backside of a doe.

Superior Whitetail Does Deer Hunting Grounds

There’s nothing quite like game in Texas; here at Squaw Mountain Ranch, the whitetail deer are plentiful, and the amenities are superb. Call us today at (830) 275-3277 to discuss your next trophy hunt with one of our experts, and ask about a free tour. There’s hunting, and then, there’s Squaw Mountain Ranch hunting.