How Do Whitetail Deer Typically Behave?


Quick Answer

The behavior of whitetail deer varies with age. Fawns are playful, naive and curious, while adults are more cautious and wary. Fawn bucks are also more aggressive and less suspicious. Whitetail deer are crepuscular animals, meaning they mostly forage for food at twilight. They move most at dawn and dusk regardless of weather.

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Full Answer

Adult whitetail deer are extremely suspicious and wary, especially during hunting season. Their highly developed senses allow them to sense danger. Most deer would stay quiet and try to sneak away unnoticed, but when seriously threatened or frightened, they may stomp their hooves, produce snorting or blowing sounds and quickly run away with their tails raised upwards. The exposed white color underneath the raised tail serves as a warning to other deer.

Most whitetail deer are solitary animals, with the male and female associating only during the mating season. They do have a social unit comprised of does, their fawns and yearlings and adult bucks, but most of the family members leave eventually to mate, forage and establish a home range. A doe with no fawns remains solitary. Adult bucks do not stay to raise the fawns and sometimes travel with other males when foraging. Super bucks or mature whitetail deer with large antlers are more aloof and reserved, often living alone regardless of season.

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