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Home > All About Maine > Wildlife > Whitetail Deer

Whitetail Deer

Whitetail Deer imageWhitetail deer are found throughout the Pine Tree State of Maine. Pine trees are a natural habitat for the Whitetail. Most trees keep their leaves, or pines, year round. This provides the deer with an ample amount of food, even during the winter. The leaves also provide the deer with shelter, both in the summer and the winter. 

Deer are most active at night. Deer find security at night, when most predators, including humans, are asleep. The deer's cautious nature is apparent when considering deer never sleep in the same bed twice, deterring predators from catching a deer's scent and awaiting for the deer the next night. Deer do not sleep for long periods of time. Rather, they are always alert of their surroundings.

Although deer are considered social animals group together in herds, the sexes are divided. Whitetails are polygamous animals, and a family consisting of a mother, father and offspring are seldom heard of. Except for during breeding, a buck will almost never be seen with a doe. 

Deer will eat just about any type of foliage they can find. There are three types of deer: the grazers, who eat grass and roughage; the intermediate feeders, who eat a variety of foods; and concentrate selectors, who eat mostly browse. Browse consists of leaves, twigs and a various assortment of shoots and vines. The type of eater a deer is depends on the deer's geographic location, changes in climate, and genetics. Most are content on eating anything they can find. 

Deer prefer to eat browse and the greener types of foliage, consisting of flowering plants and weeds. Deer love fruit, especially apples, which are found in abundance across Maine. 

Deer are not often seen by watering holes. This is because the foods deer eat usually contain all the water they need. This is especially true in the spring where heavy rains saturate the food supply with water. 

Most researchers believe it is their sense of smell, not sense of taste, that helps the deer choose diet. Deer also seem to like the taste of salt, although they may be drawn to it because it is an important nutrient. In winter, deer are often found licking the salt used to de-ice the roads. 

Deer feed during dawn and dusk. Deer are safest from predators during these times. Deer move about while feeding. They also face into the wind, so that there are any predators ahead, deer can smell them. Moving about while feeding also prevents overgrazing in one particular area.