Spring, a time of year each of us loves greatly. It’s a time of renewal, rebirth and a time to
look forward to many great hours of gardening, picnics and other fun times. For White-tailed
deer, it is much more than fun picnics, it’s time to celebrate survival and eat once again.
For many wild creatures, making it to spring is truly the survival of the fittest, the strongest and the
smartest of all. Once the greenery of spring arrives, deer go into overdrive consuming the fresh grasses
and springtime shoots. Most deer are thin, hungry and in great need of massive amounts of nutrient.
This is particularly true for pregnant females. Besides surviving the winter themselves, they
have been growing a baby or two or three. The peak of the breeding season for the majority of the
United States is the first part of November, plus minus 2 weeks. The typical Doe has a gestation period
of about 203 days and she will then birth her fawns the latter part of May. Obviously, this birthing date
will swing anywhere from the first part of May to early July but the vast majority of all Does will birth
their fawns from late May through mid June. These dates tend to be early in the
northern latitudes and later, and sometimes much later, in the south.
As spring greenery becomes available, the Doe’s requirements for nutrients
excel as their babies grow faster and bigger. With April’s production of new green growth, all Does
begin feeding heavily to regain their strength and to provide nutrients for their ever growing babies.
The changes brought about in spring will also change your deer’s behavior. They will move
from winter feeding grounds to the more lush pastures and meadowlands. It is not uncommon to have
your deer at the feeder one day and then gone completely the next, only to return in a few weeks
as the forest floor begins its own green growth. If you are realizing a change in your deer’s
feeding activities, be patient as they will be back in time to show off their babies.
For those wishing to experience the year’s best wildlife treat, continue to feed your deer
well into summer. Their springtime need for good feed is great and highly nutritious foods will do
wonders for their health and, most importantly, the babies they are growing. Continuing to feed your Doe
deer will hold them at your property or entice them to return. Doing so will provide you the best
opportunity to see your Does’ fawns come late June and early July.
Encouraging your deer to feed and visit your feeders will be greatly rewarded when the
Does bring their babies. There is no greater joy than watching a group of baby deer interacting with
one another, especially the first few times. Envision a group of hyperactive children at a birthday party. Then feed them three helpings of cake, cookies and candy, give them a big glass of soda, now multiple
this 10 fold. You can now partially understand the extremely rambunctious, crazy antics of your
own baby white-tails as they kick up their heels playing with their new friends in your own backyard.
This is a nature moment you DO NOT want to miss.
Notes on Birthing Time: We receive a LOT of calls and emails late May and early June
asking, “Where have my deer gone?” When you begin to notice the Does are no longer visiting your
feeders, this is an exciting time. It means they have moved away from the herd seeking solitude for
birthing their fawns. Within a few days or so, you will see the Doe return and within a few weeks, their
newly born babies will follow. Now, the fun begins. Keep your feeders filled, add more feeders to
spread out the herd or begin a new hobby by establishing your very own wild deer feeding station.
Meanwhile, keep your feeders filled, add a NEW Hurley-Byrd feeder to your current feeding
station or begin a brand new hobby that will be enjoyed for years to come.
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