But that's when amnesia set in, and as George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Jacklighting, salt licks, dogs – all were acceptable methods of meeting supply and demand. While this experience is burned into my memory, most "history" is not experienced firsthand. And why not? By 1840, the number of Pennsylvanians stood at three million. Deer were plentiful when European settlers first arrived, but the animals were hunted extensively for meat and hide with no thought of conservation or management. That is until June rolled around and the sun was shining and the grass was green and I was cooped up in a classroom making up those gems of. White-tailed Deer have been in Ohio since the end of the Ice Age, living in the unglaciated portion of... Pre-Settlement. So, once again, the old saying held true — you can't have your cake and eat it too. 1943: Deer population estimated at 900 deer. They have a very large number of subspecies spread across both the continents. While this deer varies greatly in size, it changes little in its external appearance over its huge range. In as little as 10 years, Pennsylvania had gone from having few deer to too many in some areas. White-tailed deer were plentiful in Maryland at the time of settlement in the 1600s, but at density levels much lower than those observed today in most parts of the state. Phillips lobbied the legislature for an agency that would protect the wildlife they so loved. It it remained illegal to harvest deer in Delaware until 1954, when the population had rebounded. White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were once so rare that in the early 1900s, Illinois State Museum curators had to arrange to get specimens from Wisconsin for exhibit. Scientific Name – Odocoileusvirginianus Classification – Odocoileus Gender Names – Male – buck, stag; Female – doe; Baby – fawn Collective Noun – Herd, […] By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The gestation period averages 202 days; twins are often born. But fear not, market hunters (those who turned a profit from their ability to harvest wildlife) did their duty by supplying settlements with a steady stream of deer and other game. 1893: Last reported wild deer kill made in Knox County. The male has forward curved antlers that bear a number of unbranched tines. During pre-settlement times, the whitetail was abundant in Missouri. Inconceivable. Oh, boy, this was not going to go over well. And instead of succeeding into pole stage forest 15 to 20 years after the big cut at the turn of the century, young brushy forest conditions persisted for several decades by repeated fires. Hunt History. Well, their wish came true. Over the next six years the allocation steadily declined as hunters griped about seeing too few deer. Director Kalbfus noted the gathering clouds on the horizon. White-tailed deer can be differentiated from mule deer by their distinct wide tail with a … Before its creation, most hunters thought a state wildlife agency was a great idea — it meant there would be more game. And in 1907, Pennsylvania became a buck-only hunting state. History has never been my favorite subject. Ever wish for a snow day? It it remained illegal to harvest deer in Delaware until 1954, when the population had rebounded. But that was about to change. Yet people questioned them. Some routes are burned into my brain, such as the 110 miles to State College or the 160 miles to Harrisburg. Yet hunters managed to kill another 250,000 deer over the next two years. Because reducing a 90 percent forested state to a 17 percent forested state surely wouldn't change the complexion or the bounty of what was here when the colonists arrived. "Whitetails" have been a part of Penn's Woods for many centuries. They also in­habit farm­lands, brushy areas and such des­o­late areas of the west such as the cac­tus and thorn­brush deserts of … These animals were used extensively by Native Americans and early settlers for both food and clothing. I do. Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science, Faculty of Environmental Design, The University of Calgary. In 1950, the Game Commission started a campaign to educate hunters about deer and modern deer management. This pattern continued for decades. Ever dream of hitting Powerball? They have excellent hearing due to their large, sensitive ears. Isolated from predators and hunters, the deer population grew quickly. White-tailed deer can live to 18 years, but few deer in the wild live that long. C. P. Brown Game Research Investigator New York State Conservation Department ABSTRACT The white-tailed deer is New York's most important big game species. Legislators made promises to stop the season as well. It also describes the current status of white- What! Unless it has some life-altering effect (like being covered in chigger bites from the waist to the knees), most of our past is archived and only browsed occasionally at family functions. Buckeye is based on the Native American word "hetuck," meaning "eye of the buck." Deer populations today have risen to approximately one million deer in North Carolina. That was the same year a bill providing complete protection to antlerless deer and establishing a seasonal one-buck bag limit was passed. Perhaps for this reason, the species has become increasingly important in the harvest. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). This might be my situation if I had lived in Europe during the era of colonization. By 1900, only 9 to 13 million acres of forestland remained in Pennsylvania. White-tailed deer, normally a cherished North American game animal, have even become pests in suburbs and cities in the United States and Canada. The white-tailed deer predates the Ice Ages and is the oldest extant deer species. No money and no one to enforce the game laws on the books allowed people to continue to do as they pleased. "Whitetails" have been a part of Penn's Woods for many centuries. White-tailed Deer - Natural History and Autumn Behavior : by Andrew Burnett Senior Wildlife Biologist To the deer hunter, the arrival of autumn means hunting season has arrived. In presettlement times, white-tailed deer were fairly abundant in Missouri, especially in the more fertile, diverse habitats of the northern part of the state. By the mid-1800s, though, hunting and habitat destruction had reduced the herd. Excellent range equals twice as many deer in two years. It seems after 10 years of bloodshed, both human and wildlife, the good citizens of PA finally decided to at least have their cake even if they couldn't eat it too. These animals were used extensively by Native Americans and early settlers for both food and clothing. Keywords: white tailed deer, history, impact on natural resources Prepared by: David Jackson, Extension Educator Lesson Plan Grade Level: 6-12th Total Time Required for Lesson: 3 hours classroom and research time Setting: Classroom, library, computer room Topics: history, population shifts, impact on natural resources Goals for the Lesson. Scientists believe that deer once inhabited bitter-cold regions around the Arctic Circle. PDMA (Pennsylvania Deer Management Amnesia) has plagued the Game Commission for almost a century. And the dwindling numbers of deer certainly didn't stop anyone from hunting them even if it was within season. Farther south, white-tailed deer thrive on the forest borders and partially cleared areas. The typical weight of an adult buck (male) is 100 to 250 pounds with a shoulder height of 3½ to 4 feet. Needless to say, Director Kalbfus was not successful and noted, "Thank God I won't be in charge of this work 10 years from now, because someone is going to have hell to pay.". But be advised, our story will begin hundreds of years ago. Two years later the buck harvest was more than 1,200 and by 1920, buck harvest was 3,300; more than 16 times what it was just 13 years before. The state banned deer harvest 1841. It became abundant only after the last glaciation when the indigenous Ice Age fauna of the Americas became extinct and competitive and predation pressures were lifted. I would much rather do stuff than read about people who did stuff.But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the past and what we can learn from it for the future. The History of Whitetail Deer 0 By HuntingNet Staff on January 1, 2008 Deer, Pages, staticpages Scientists believe that deer once inhabited bitter-cold regions around the Arctic Circle. 1956: Deer trapping and reloca… But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the past and what we can learn from it for the future. Upon Completion of this lesson students will be able to: Females become territorial before giving birth. The restocking program continued for 19 years, which was probably 19 years too many. It wasn’t until about 4 million years ago that the first deer migrated to what we now call the United States. The Maryland White-tailed Deer Management Plan (‘the deer plan’) documents the history of white-tailed deer and white-tailed deer management in Maryland (information on basic white-tailed deer biology can be found in Appendix 1). Hunt History. Mr. Phillips tells his friend that "I have killed the last deer in Pennsylvania." White-tailed deer may live apart from each other in summer but may form big herds in winter on open prairies or in forests. White-tail Deer, Odocoileus virginianus White-tailed deer belong to the order of artiodactyla and family Cervidae and may live up to 12 years in the wild, although they rarely reach anything over seven years of age. The smallest variety, the Key deer of Florida, stands 76 cm (30 inches) at the shoulder and weighs 23 kg (50 pounds). It became abundant only after the last glaciation when the indigenous Ice Age fauna of the Americas became extinct and competitive and predation pressures were lifted. But Pennsylvania wasn't excellent deer range; it was exceptional, outstanding, superb deer range. Small resident herds that had survived the dark days of the iSoo’s multiplied and spread. For many, the story of the white-tailed deer spans only a few decades, or as long as one person's memory. It is probable that mixtures of these compounds are important in individual recognition, but specific compounds may also be important.…, The white-tailed deer is the best known of the mammals found in South Carolina. Life History of the White-tailed Deer LHOTWTD012104. Deer History White-tailed deer have played a very important role in the history of our country. The white-tailed deer get its name from the long white hair on the underside of the tail and rump. In 15 years, deer populations had gone from one extreme to the other. . In the United States, the black-tailed or mule deer displaces the white-tailed deer west of the Rocky Mountains. But it is true. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. But remember having to go to school in June stinks. I guess people's definition of honesty was different 100 years ago. At five, not getting that blue ball in Target was the end of the world, but after graduating high school, obtaining two advanced degrees, making a life in four different states thousands of miles from friends and family, getting married with all its up and downs, that blue ball is small potatoes. Hunting is the number one cause of mortality for adult white-tailed deer in many parts of their range, including Tennessee. Populations near extinction in the early 1900’s have rebounded due to … In the United States, the black-tailed or mule deer displaces the white-tailed deer west of the Rocky Mountains. The gestation period for white-tailed deer is slightly less than 7 months or between 190 and 210 days. This column has looked at deer hair and digestion, followed the glamorous life of a biologist, and busted some old wives' tales about our beloved state animal. And people were hungry. I mean who can't live out the rest of their days with $164 million. History has never been my favorite subject. Deer were an integral part of Native American’s lives. And there are other roads that I have traveled I'm not as intimately acquainted with. During the mating season in November and December, much of the courtship is carried on at a run; many males try to keep up with the speedy female. The average number of deer-vehicle collisions per day in Pennsylvania is 275. Kill a doe, it was sacrilege. 1893: Last reported wild deer kill made in Knox County. In the East the white-tailed deer was one of the first principal beneficiaries. Today the white-tailed deer is a popular game animal. That was pretty much the attitude of the general populous of Pennsylvania. And winter kills were mounting. That year more than 170,000 antlerless deer were harvested. It took another seven years before antlerless season, a fundamental component of deer management, became an annual occurrence. White-tailed deer, normally a cherished North American game animal, have even become pests in suburbs and cities in the United States and Canada. With policy set and goals in hand, the Game Commission got on the deer management turnpike. Deer are graceful and swift runners (up to 35 miles per hour), but do not generally run long distances, preferring to seek the nearest shelter whenever possible. Mature males' antlers h… Hunting is the number one cause of mortality for adult white-tailed deer in many parts of their range, including Tennessee. I mean a good thing is a good thing no matter how much there is. Wary, and expert at using cover, whitetails rarely offer the hunter a standing shot once jumped. I would much rather do stuff than read about people who did stuff. Climate change has allowed the white-tailed deer to expand its presence in Canada in recent years. In 1681, when King Charles II gave William Penn his chunk of the new world and sealed the deal on our great state's name, 90 percent of Pennsylvania was forested — an estimated 27 to 28 million acres. The history of deer management in Pennsylvania is like traveling the turnpike. The state banned deer harvest 1841. Of course, hunters of that era didn't have the hang ups that we do today. They also in­habit farm­lands, brushy areas and such des­o­late areas of the west such as the cac­tus and … It happened in the past. They range throughout Michigan and are a game animal in this state. Pennsylvania's "new" forests would be oak and cherry and maple and birch — millions and millions of tender, sweet, mouthwatering seedlings all growing at the same time with a healthy helping of greenbiar, elderberry, viburnum and asters. What did she do? The natural resource account was busting at the seams and the bank was always open. For a deer, this means less food because trees are too big to eat and shrubs are shaded out. Within 100 years, deer were threatened with extirpation in North Carolina, as well as in the entire United States. Please enable scripts and reload this page. While clearing the land for agriculture certainly caused its fair share of tree mortality, it was the lumber industry that waged war on Pennsylvania forests. Can you guess what happened next? While the records show a handful of antlerless deer were harvested from 1923 to 1926, the first "statewide" antlerless season occurred in 1928. Historic accounts notethat furs sent out from the various posts upon the Illinois River included10,000 deer, 300 bear, 10,000 raccoon, 35,000 muskrat, 400 otter, 300 pounds ofbeaver, 500 cat and fox and 100 mink, having a total value placed at $23,700.During this time period, a 60­â€“100 pound whitetail sol… White-tailed deer, (Odocoileus virginianus), also called Virginia deer, common American deer of the family Cervidae (order Artiodactyla) that covers a huge range from the Arctic Circle in western Canada to 18 degrees south of the Equator in Peru and Bolivia. The first white deer, a buck and a fawn, were spotted in the Depot in 1949. Holy cow, the deer hit the jackpot! Because Pennsylvanians wanted the world and wanted it now, the Game Commission began a restocking program in 1906 to accelerate the return of the whitetail. White-tailed deer have played a very important role in the history of our country. Peak breeding usually occurs in November. But no matter, this was "the grossest miscarriage of justice ever perpetuated upon the sportsmen of Pennsylvania." Deer have not been an endangered species in this state since 1900. When I do win Powerball, I am sure my monetary worries will be over for life. Although the white-tailed deer of North and South America are currently recognized as one species, genetically these deer are further apart than are white-tailed and black-tailed deer in North America. Breeding occurs during the fall and winter, but may extend from late August through January. Compared to the dozen other large terrestrial herbivores that survived in North America, white-tailed deer have many attractive characteristics. Who wouldn't support that? White-tailed deer are herbivores, leisurely grazing on most available plant foods. Perhaps it is inconceivable to you and me — the poor schmucks who haven't won the lottery. I think you know the road by now. The white-tailed deer population in North Carolina has made a dramatic turnaround. It belongs to the subfamily of New World deer. A four township area in Clearfield County had an estimated 1,000 dead fawns. The white-tailed deer is Pennsylvania's state animal. Large males can stand as high as 106 cm (42 inches) at the shoulder and can weigh up to 180 kg (400 pounds). By repeated marking, house mice produce accretions of urine at “marking posts,” and a dominant male may mark 100–200 times in an hour. Everyone wanted more deer. I wish my money in the bank grew that fast. No one was turned away. The first white deer, a buck and a fawn, were spotted in the Depot in 1949. Seeing the track of one was enough to call off school. Ross Leffler, a prominent figure in Game Commission and Pennsylvania conservation history, said, "Sportsmanly chivalry has become so deeply-rooted that we are finding the second step in game restoration the hardest — getting sportsmen to realize that it is just as important to limit the number of species to within its food supply…" That was in 1931. Fires raged and erosion washed away topsoil, fouling creeks and streams. Buckeye is based on the Native American word "hetuck," meaning "eye of the buck." Deer populations today have risen to approximately one million deer in North Carolina. (13 percent success rate.) Other species, such as the…. Mothers sometimes raise daughters to adulthood and then depart, leaving their home range to the daughters. (13 percent success rate.) As communities grew, wildlife surrounding them disappeared. I guess it should come as no surprise, then, that the pioneers of Pennsylvania filed for natural resource bankruptcy as well. Within a remarkably short time restoration efforts in one state after another bore fruit. He wrote that elk, deer, raccoons, beaver, rabbits, turkeys and pigeons were so plentiful that "they run in droves into the house in cold weather." Yet the deer herd continued to increase, even as the forests began to change. They spent their money. In the 1942 Walt Disney Pictures film, Bambi is a white-tailed deer, while in Felix Salten's original 1923 book Bambi, a Life in the Woods, he is a roe deer. White-tailed deer are the smallest member of the deer family in North America, ranging in size from 150 to 310 pounds for bucks and 90 to 210 pounds for does. As you may recall, the subject of this column a year ago was the reproductive potential of white-tailed deer. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were common in Delaware when European settlers first arrived. Quite unintentionally, our forefathers created perfect circumstances for the roaring comeback of our soon-to-be state animal. History really doesn't have to be that complicated. Come on, we've all been accused of having selective memories. Deer, when granted some protection, readily exploit man-made disturbances caused by agriculture, forestry, and urbanization. When Europeans came to the New World, the white-tailed deer played an important role in providing food. You're crazy! Extensive clearing of land, unregulated hunting, and loss of habitat brought the white-tailed deer population to a record low by the late 1800’s. I couldn't get enough of them. I remember this day in my personal history because it was unseasonably cool, and I got the worst case of chiggers in my life. 1951: First deer season in 58 years—three days in November. In the tropics reproduction may take place year-round. Reams of data were collected and indices were developed. The venison that was not sold or traded was salted and used by the colonists themselves. The history of white-tailed deer in Missouri shows the positive and negative influences humans can have on wildlife. In northern Minnesota, where the forest habitat was much different than it is today, deer were absent or rare. White-tailed deer readily turn to orchards and other cultivated vegetation when available. Upon Completion of this lesson students will be able to: Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. In northern Minnesota, where the forest habitat was much different than it … In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate. But, amazingly enough, the antlerless allocation continued to rise until 1991, until the familiar howls of the disgruntled rose above common sense. Mr. Phillips is known as one of Pennsylvania's foremost conservationists yet he was not deterred from withdrawing the last buck from the Pennsylvania resource bank. Their short tail stands erect when alarmed, displaying white fur on the underside. (In fact, in some zones the bow season actually opens before the autumnal equinox!) Williamsport became known as the lumber capital of the world, and in 1899 Pennsylvania hit its peak annual lumber production of 2.3 billion board feet. Prior to European settlement, deer provided a staple for Native Americans who inhabited present-day Pennsylvania. While the chestnut blight was wiping out more of Pennsylvania's forests, the deer were picking up the slack everywhere else. The white-tailed deer belongs to the family Cervidae, which includes elk, mule deer, moose, and caribou. White­tail deer are able to sur­vive in a va­ri­ety of ter­res­trial habi­tats, from the big woods of north­ern Maine to the deep saw grass and ham­mock swamps of Florida. Trees would retake Pennsylvania, but the forest would not look the same. Legislature bans deer harvest. The key word, of course, is nearly. The White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, has been extremely important in Ohio's history. Author of. History of White-tailed Deer in Oklahoma. In summer, white-tailed deer are reddish-brown to tan above; the winter the colors are grayish to grayish brown. Keywords: white tailed deer, history, impact on natural resources Prepared by: David Jackson, Extension Educator Lesson Plan Grade Level: 6-12th Total Time Required for Lesson: 3 hours classroom and research time Setting: Classroom, library, computer room Topics: history, population shifts, impact on natural resources Goals for the Lesson. Prime areas are those which have a mix of forest, old fields and active crop lands. That's right — the entire white-tailed population in 1890 was less than last year's statewide harvest. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate. Words like "conservation" and "sustainable" were nonexistent. The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer native to North America, Central America, Ecuador, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia. Not having to go to school! Hunters exclaimed, "Pennsylvania's deer herd is ruined!" They believed it was an inherent right to take what they wanted at will. The deer populations before 1775 were healthy and stable because of good food and cover. "White-tailed" refers to the distinctive white tail that when raised is a flag and provides a flash of white, signaling other deer when there is danger. During flight the hair is flared, and the tail is held aloft like a signaling flag. What if I wasn't sure of how I would keep my family fed and warm through the winter? Joseph Kalbfus was right. White-tailed deer belong to the order of artiodactyla and family Cervidae and may live up to 12 years in the wild, although they rarely reach anything over seven years of age. https://www.britannica.com/animal/white-tailed-deer, New Hampshire Public Television - NatureWorks - White-tailed Deer, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History - North American Mammals - White-tailed Deer, Michigon Department of Natural Resources - White-tailed Deer, National Park Service - White-tailed Deer. History can take many forms — natural history, world history, personal history. Life is a grand teacher. How about a trip down memory lane? In his 1916 annual report he wrote, "In many sections of the state female deer have increased exceedingly, and because of the law giving them absolute protection, have apparently come to believe they belong in a privileged class that can do as they please . You're telling me that a normal Joe can become rich and spend more money than he has ever made in his life in a matter of a couple of years. In presettlement times, white-tailed deer were fairly abundant in Missouri, especially in the more fertile, diverse habitats of the northern part of the state. Its body and antlers are largest in cold temperate climates and on productive agricultural soils but are small in the tropics, in deserts, and on small islands. A free day to play in the snow, drink hot chocolate, and drive your mother crazy. This is why I decided to take this trip through Pennsylvania's deer management history. Its high speed in running, its legendary skills at hiding, and its ability to move silently reflect severe pressure from extinct American Ice Age predators. So let's recap â€” European colonists arrived in Pennsylvania around 1650ish and 250 years later predators are wiped out, game species are overharvested and extirpated, half of the state's trees are gone, the Game Commission is created, and millions of acres of deer food replaced vast mature forests. But were there any left to live in this new deer utopia? Many deer managers, protective of their prized mule deer herds, resent the “invasion” of the white-tailed deer into areas previously unoccupied by the “lesser species.” Omissions? White-tailed deer have been prominent in human cultures in North America for thousands of years, likely gaining importance after mostspecies of mammalian megafauna went extinct during the Pleistocene, 12,000–15,000 years ago . Does typically live longer than bucks presumably because rutting behavior predisposes bucks to higher losses due to hunting, motor vehicle collisions, physical injuries, and depletion of fat reserves going into the winter. For certain, this would be the last installment of the Life and Times series. But those pieces of legislation, like previous game laws before them, did little for the deer. The buck guards and mates with the female for a day before searching for another female in heat. Let's face it. White-tailed Deer have been in Ohio since the end of the last Ice Age. Deer were plentiful when European settlers first arrived, but the animals were hunted extensively for meat and hide with no thought of conservation or management. Five years later the buck harvest was more than 1,000. But under this "new" system things were working just fine. Director Kalbfus had a sense of humor — heaven knows you need it in this line of work. History of the White-tailed Deer in Pennsylvania The Early Days. Keystone State. Special Requests to Use State Game Lands Information, Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). Prior to European settlement, deer provided a staple for Native Americans who inhabited present-day Pennsylvania. The white-tailed deer population in North Carolina has made a dramatic turnaround. During pre-settlement times, the whitetail was abundant in Missouri. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were common in Delaware when European settlers first arrived. But the treasures that it held were beyond anything they dreamed of in their homeland. Recalling only the parts we like or that suit our cause instead of what actually happened. Buck season was closed for the first time in state history. White-tailed deer are the smallest of the three members of the deer family found in Michigan, the others being elk and moose. Fawns are reddish, brown, or reddish-yellow spotted with white; they lose their spots and acquire uniform coloration at 3–5 months of age. The exits and mile markers are well established and painfully familiar. Most of us are only concerned with what happens today. Prime areas are those which have a mix of forest, old fields and active crop lands. So what if I did live the "hard" life? The state tree, the Ohio Buckeye, is named because its nut resembles a deer, or buck's, eye. White-tailed Deer In West Texas the white-tailed deer is a species that attracts a wide range of opinions. Well, that fits. Well, seven years later, after nearly all of the state's abundant game had disappeared and 70 percent of Penn's Woods had become agricultural fields, Phillips, along with other sportsmen, formed the Pennsylvania Sportsmen's Association. Now where shall we go? But wait…you mean I can't hunt where I want, when I want, and take what I want. And some of those memories aren't true to life. Odocoileus virginianus At the time of European settlement, white-tailed deer in Minnesota existed throughout the wooded river valleys and woodlands of central and southern Minnesota. For example, I spent a lovely cool July 4th picking raspberries several years ago. Deer were abundant and a primary food source. Deer are graceful, sleek and have long legs, which makes them look taller than their actual height of 35 to 38 inches. The first buck-only season resulted in less than 200 bucks being harvested, and the state's first accident-free deer season. They trample down the snow in an area that is then known as a “deer yard.” Food includes leaves, twigs, fruits, and nuts, as well as lichens and fungi. In southern Ontario the wild turkey, which had…, house mouse and the white-tailed deer. Recall that there were only 300,000 living deer in the entire country slightly more than a hundred years ago. An endless deer buffet. 90,000-120,000 deer annually. For example, it has not held its own against European deer after its introduction to New Zealand and Europe. Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh were all well-established cities by 1800, with growing populations. The state tree, the Ohio Buckeye, is named because its nut resembles a deer, or buck's, eye. White-tailed deer range from the Yukon in Canada through the United States (except Hawaii and Alaska) and Central America south to Brazil and Bolivia. Something had to take their place. The "great majority" of hunters were pleased with the new law not only for the protection of the deer herd but for the "feeling of personal security." The adult white-tailed deer has a bright reddish summer coat and a duller grayish brown winter coat; the underparts are white. The harvest in 1907 was 230 deer. And this is the trouble with the past. When the Game Commission began restricting hunting, people were up in arms. And so had the attitude of hunters. Isolated from predators and hunters, the deer population grew quickly. People were up in arms. Many deer managers, protective of their prized mule deer herds, resent the “invasion” of the white-tailed deer into areas previously unoccupied by the “lesser species.” Half of Pennsylvania's vast forests were gone. White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were once so rare that in the early 1900s, Illinois State Museum curators had to arrange to get specimens from Wisconsin for exhibit. I told you that habitat was fantastic. And while 1905 passed without an incident, 1907 made up for it with seven officers being shot, three of which were fatal. The white-tailed deer is a specialist in exploiting disrupted forest ecosystems, but it is a poor competitor when faced with other species. There are also numerous smaller mammals, including gray and red squirrels, minks, raccoons, muskrats, skunks, jackrabbits, cottontail rabbits, groundhogs, and a variety of mice and moles. At the turn of the 20th century everybody wanted more deer. After five years of labor, the Game Commission was born, in 1895. What could go wrong? 1943: Deer population estimated at 900 deer. Unregulated shooting, changes in land use, and other factors combined to all but eliminate deer … Hunters and lawmakers cried foul and accused the Commission of selling out to farmers and foresters. Updates? As you well know, life was not all roses and daisies for colonists of the New World. Oh, the things I would do. The doe is smaller and weighs in much lighter at 70 to 150 pounds. In time, Penn's Woods were transformed for agriculture, providing even more food for the growing numbers of residents of the commonwealth. Deer play an important role in our forests, and everyone admires their graceful beauty. By the mid-20th century, however, it had been restored to great abundance by game-management measures throughout North America. Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, itself, supplied deer. Better late than never. Now, Will recommended that "care be taken to leave one acre of trees for every five acres cleared." 1956: Deer trapping and reloca… Native Americans depended on white-tailed deer as a source of food, clothing, shelter, and goods for trading. The Coues white-tailed deer is perhaps Arizona's finest game animal. History in Connecticut: Due to over-harvesting for venison and deerskins, market hunting, and a general loss of deer habitat caused by extensive clearing of the land for farming, white-tailed deer were uncommon in Connecticut from 1700 to approximately 1900. 1953-1955: 111 deer released throughout the state, with last releases in Sullivan and Ripley counties. As a species, the extend from the southern edge of the arctic prairies … Well, I'm not quite sure I believe that but, the fact is, Pennsylvania was teaming with wildlife, and the effort required to obtain it was far less than anything experienced in the Old World. Could perspective be the cure? HISTORY OF THE WHITE DEER Several dozen wild white-tailed deer were probably caught within the fence that was built to surround the Seneca Army Depot in 1941. White-tailed deer have been introduced into Europe and the Caribbean and are farmed in New Zealand. History in Connecticut: Due to over-harvesting for venison and deerskins, market hunting, and a general loss of deer habitat caused by extensive clearing of the land for farming, white-tailed deer were uncommon in Connecticut from 1700 to approximately 1900. The White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, has been extremely important in Ohio's history. Granted, I don't live in poverty and I'm pretty sure of my next meal, but not having to worry about everyday things anymore is very appealing. Then, in 1979, after years of collecting deer population and habitat data, deer density goals were established based on forest stage (seedling/sapling, pole and saw timber). I'm pretty sure it was added as the 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not shoot does. Forests were reaching pole stage. I sure did. In less than 15 years the mind-set of hunters went from three days of tracking and killing the "last deer in Pennsylvania" to vehement "opposition to the ruthless slaughter of does." The rising tide of deer hit 900,000 in the early '80s, with densities surpassing 50 deer/forest square mile in some areas — way above any habitat-based goal. Market-hunting and habitat loss nearly extirpated deer from the state by 1900. Even those with a multimillion dollar paycheck can't seem to balance their budgets. Well, the "honest" people of Pennsylvania had had enough of this wildlife protection nonsense by 1903. Don't get me wrong, deer in Pennsylvania had nearly disappeared from the landscape. Well, like it or not, we are going to recount the entire story of deer and deer management in Pennsylvania. Extensive clearing of land, unregulated hunting, and loss of habitat brought the white-tailed deer population to a record low by the late 1800’s. Can you really have too much of a good thing? What is better than waking up to the stillness and beauty of fresh snow? And deer were a good thing. The deer season (Aug 1 – Dec 1 with no limit) which had been set nearly a hundred years earlier, seemed to do little to slow the decline of this much-sought prize. What if the grocery store was the great outdoors and the shelves were barely stocked? According to Game Commission records, 1,192 deer were purchased during that period. Sure, the deer and most of the other wildlife had all but vanished from the land of plenty, but game wasn't the only thing disappearing. White­tail deer are able to sur­vive in a va­ri­ety of ter­res­trial habi­tats, from the big woods of north­ern Maine to the deep saw grass and ham­mock swamps of Florida. The White-tailed Deer is a browser, feeding on leaves, buds, and twigs of wide variety of plants. The white-tailed deer is Pennsylvania's state animal. You've read about them in the paper, seen them on the news. This Game Commission thing is for the birds. The deer herd in 1931 was estimated at 800,000, while the carrying capacity of the range was 250,000. White-tailed Deer have been in Ohio since the end of the last Ice Age. She rolled up her sleeves and got back to work. I have done and still do a lot of traveling inside and outside the state. Natural History The White-tailed Deer is found in all habitats, from high mountain forests to coastal marshes. In 1983, the antlerless allocation was above 500,000 for the first time. Depleted resources at home and unknown riches abroad spurred the exploration and "discovery" of new worlds. This column has looked at deer hair and digestion, followed the glamorous life of a biologist, and busted some old wives' tales about our beloved state animal. And the older I get, the more I realize that life is all about perspective. White-tailed Deer - Natural History and Autumn Behavior : by Andrew Burnett Senior Wildlife Biologist To the deer hunter, the arrival of autumn means hunting season has arrived. 1900 – Market/subsistence hunting and unregulated harvest eliminate nearly all deer from the state. Truer words were never spoken. Transplants of a few animals mushroomed to thousands within a few years. Those who pursued deer wrote of taking three with one shot, seven in one day, and 100 in one fall. White-tailed deer are the smallest member of the deer family in North America, ranging in size from 150 to 310 pounds for bucks and 90 to 210 pounds for does. Mating is quick and unceremonious. It wasn't until about 4 million years ago that the first deer migrated to what we now call the United States. As a result of this improved knowledge, antlerless allocations climbed to account for varying deer reproduction, habitat and harvest success in different areas of the state. But no matter how beaten and abused, Mother Nature never surrenders. Like the deer, elk, beaver and the turkey, how could so much ever be depleted? The history of white-tailed deer in Missouri shows the positive and negative influences humans can have on wildlife (Figure 2). But sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees. The Coues white-tailed deer is perhaps Arizona's finest game animal. While the "brush stage" of Pennsylvania forests was maintained for longer than normal because of fires, it only delayed the inevitable. I'm sure my two dedicated fans would be disappointed; but, hey, those are the breaks. Pennsylvania was the land of plenty to those who settled here, her forests did not hold nor could they support the number of deer these "new" forests could. However, its overabundance where protected from predation and from adequate hunting has led to severe damage to forestry and agriculture, to high levels of collisions with cars and trucks and resulting injuries and fatalities among motorists, as well as to an upswing in dangerous transmissible diseases such as Lyme disease. The science of deer management took root in the 1960s and '70s. Hunting by native peoples and predation by large carnivores kept deer populations in balance with … Forgetting the common history of the whitetail exposes us to silly mistakes — like forgetting to tuck your shirt in while standing in waist high raspberry brambles in July. In another 10 years, the buck season was again closed. Now the Game Commission wanted to liberalize hunting. One of the reasons we can sometimes win a battle with Mother Nature but never the war is because she is always changing her game plan. Native Americans depended on white-tailed deer as a source of food, clothing, shelter, and goods for trading. Hunters in Pennsylvania have been harvesting more than 300,000 deer for more than 20 years. Joseph Kalbfus, the first executive director of the Game Commission, saw the problem as clear as day. By the mid-1800s, though, hunting and habitat destruction had reduced the herd. It has also been introduced to New Zealand, all the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico ), and some countries in Europe, such as the Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, Serbia, Germany, and France. Lesson learned. You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. White-tailed Deer In West Texas the white-tailed deer is a species that attracts a wide range of opinions. White-tailed deer can live to 18 years, but few deer in the wild live that long. It is the number one game animal in the south. 1934-1942: 296 deer purchased for release from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Back when the population estimate of white-tailed deer was 300,000 — for the entire United States. . " In 1906, the year before the buck-only hunting regulation, the harvest was roughly 800 deer, 350 of which were bucks. Deer grow a (And here I thought numbers in the billions were reserved for the 21st century). That's more than six million deer harvested in a quarter of a century. Colonists had everything they needed and apparently all they really had to do was leave the door open on a cold night to wake up to a house full of game. The General Assembly changed deer season in 1869, and in 1876, and, again, in 1895 (Oct 15 to Dec 15). My history of raspberry picking taught me that chiggers are more active at cooler temperatures and that I should always tuck my shirt in. First, white-tailed deer are widely distributed and much of the species’ range includes some of the most productive habitats on the contin… While the educational campaign of the 1950s succeeded in establishing an annual antlerless season, we all know it did little else to quiet deer harvest debates. There is a rather famous account by John M Phillips in which he and a friend jump a buck and kill it after three days of tracking. The white-tailed deer predates the Ice Ages and is the oldest extant deer species. Description The most characteristic feature of the white-tailed deer is the white underside of its tail or "flag" that is flashed when disturbed. Numbers were... Settlement. Unregulated shooting, changes in land use, and other factors combined to all but eliminate deer … Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Mostly because no one paid them any mind. 1934-1942: 296 deer purchased for release from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. What was left was barren, stump-studded, burned over hillsides — a venerable moonscape in which Pennsylvania's wildlife (what was left) could not reside. At the time of European settlement, white-tailed deer in Minnesota existed throughout the wooded river valleys and woodlands of central and southern Minnesota. 1951: First deer season in 58 years—three days in November. But the storm would gain strength and pound the landscape for decades. Amnesia has two main features: an impaired ability to learn new information, and an impaired ability to recall past events. We have been traveling together through Pennsylvania's deer management history for the past eight months. In 1682, when William Penn arrived in his newly acquired province, he was flabbergasted at the natural wealth he found. After all, shooting antlerless deer was the sole reason deer disappeared, and not shooting them brought them back, right? In 1904, three more were shot. Compared to the dozen other large terrestrial herbivores that survived in North America, white-tailed deer have many attractive characteristics. It has been locally outcompeted in North America by sika and chital. History of the White-tailed Deer in Pennsylvania The Early Days. An entire Game News was dedicated to "Our Deer Problem." The white-tailed deer carries parasites that have seriously depleted populations of woodland caribou, moose, and elk and have significantly affected livestock. Within 100 years, deer were threatened with extirpation in North Carolina, as well as in the entire United States. Hunting by native peoples and predation by large carnivores kept deer populations in balance with … Deer History. Deer, when granted some protection, readily exploit man-made disturbances caused by agriculture, forestry, and urbanization. The Game Commission floundered for the first few years. They went to court, wrote letters to newspaper editors, and signed petitions to close the antlerless season. Its history in the State is traced as a background for understanding its present status and the kind of management called for. The history of white-tailed deer in Missouri shows the positive and negative influences humans can have on wildlife. Remember John Phillips, the man who believed he killed the last deer in Pennsylvania in 1883. Meat and … By the time antlerless deer were protected, the drama had been unfolding in Pennsylvania for nearly 250 years. In 1907, the harvest dropped to 200 bucks and 30 illegal does. Director Kalbfus began the crusade for an antlerless license in 1917, But does were worshipped by Pennsylvanians. History Prehistory. Corrections? Hemlocks and white pine had their heyday. Its population in the Piedmont had declined severely by the 1940s, but restocking from the Coastal Plain and restoration of forests have now ensured its statewide distribution. That's when the first field officer was shot. Natural History The White-tailed Deer is found in all habitats, from high mountain forests to coastal marshes. In C. S. Lewis 's 1950 fantasy novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe the adult Pevensies, now kings and queens of Narnia , chase the White Stag on a hunt, as the Stag is said to grant its captor a wish. Because it seems that many have amnesia when it comes to this subject. White-tailed deer can be differentiated from mule deer by their distinct wide tail with a … Penn's Woods, themselves, could have been classified as an endangered species. 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