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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Regarding white-tailed deer

Thursday, November 17, 2011

(Photo)
Now that the majority of the farm fields have been harvested, we are seeing more white-tailed deer out searching for food.

The problem with the deer searching for food is that they occasionally run into the path of a car causing a collision.

If the deer are able to avoid the car, they are actually an interesting wildlife species to learn about.

At one point, white-tailed deer were nearing extinction in Indiana. To help combat this, in 1934, the Division of Fish and Game began to restock the population. The initial way they did this was by trapping 400 deer in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Once trapped, these deer were transported to state and federal properties in the southern hills of Indiana and released. Overtime, these deer have spread throughout the state along with others that have crossed into the state from Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky.

White-tailed deer are a member of the Cervidae family. Animals in the Cervidae family all share the characteristic that males bare antlers.

Antlers are not permanent structures, which is why deer lose them every year around January and February. The antlers are often fully grown by early September.

The antler tissue is one of the fastest growing tissues known to man with some antlers growing as much as a half-an-inch per day. As the antler grows, it will be covered with a hairy skin called velvet. The velvet will dry up and begin to slough off as the antlers harden.

You cannot tell the age of the deer by its antlers. Instead, through special training and knowledge of when a deer's milk teeth are replaced by permanent teeth, you can learn to tell the age of a deer.

Each year, during opening weekend of firearms season, biologists with the DNR visit check stations throughout the state to collect data on the age of deer checked in that weekend.

Through this process, they have determined the prime age of deer is 3-6 with wild white-tailed deer being considered old at age 10. In captivity, deer can live up to 20-years-old.

White-tailed deer are known to carry diseases like most animals. Two of the main ones of concern are Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and Bovine Tuberculosis (TB). In 2002, Indiana created a monitoring program to detect the presence of CWD in deer. CWD has not been detected in more than 11,000 deer since testing started (the 2010 results are not in yet).

Overall, Indiana has tested 609 deer for TB in the past two years. During those two years, they have failed to detect the presence of TB in free ranging deer herds.

White-tailed deer are great to admire but many like to hunt them in an effort to provide food for their family and to help control the deer population. In 2010, 134,004 deer were harvested during the hunting season.

Specifically, 1,123 were harvested in Clay County and 1,669 were harvested in Owen County alone.

There were five counties that had harvest numbers of more than 3,000 (Franklin, Kosciusko, Noble, Steuben and Switzerland).

As always, if you have any questions or would like any information on any agriculture, horticulture or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* Nov. 24-25 -- Extension Office closed,

* Nov. 29 -- Owen County Extension Board meeting,

* Nov. 30 -- Goat and Sheep webinar, Owen County Extension Office. Call 812-829-5020 by Nov. 23 to register. There is no cost,

* Dec. 7 -- Goat and Sheep webinar, Owen County Extension Office. Call 812-829-5020 by Nov. 23 to register. There is no cost,

* Dec. 8 -- Crop Production Clinic, 4-H Fairgrounds in Alexandria, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Those attending can receive CCH, CEU and PARP credits. Call 765-641-9514 to register.