| The Columbia Black-tailed Deer (O. hemionus columbianus) is found only along the coastal mountain region from Queen Charlottes in British Columbia south to California. These deer prefer grassy fields at forest edges, recently burned or logged-over areas. They are mammals that belong to the Order Artiodactyla.|
They are called Black-tailed deer because the bottom two thirds of the tail is black. Up higher, where the tail is attached, the fur is brown and under the tail is whitish. The general body color is reddish to greying-brown (with black hairs interspersed in winter) and the underside of belly, chin, neck patch are white. The brownish color camouflages the deer in the forest and field edges where it lives.
Columbia Black-tailed Deer are considered by many experts to be a sub-species of Mule Deer. They share many similarities but are much smaller than a mule deer and their ears are smaller too. The ranges of the two sub-species do overlap.
Black-tails feed on tender grasses, herbs, branch tips, and new leaves in spring and summer. In winter, they eat Douglas fir, western cedar, Oregon yew, trailing blackberry, red huckleberry, salal branches.
Black-tailed deer are most active at dusk and dawn, but also feed at night. They are inactive during the heat of the day and prefer to bed down (rest) in thickets (dense group of trees) near streams with a good food source.
They use their large rotating ears to let them know of predators nearby and bound away like kangaroos on long legs at the first sign of danger. During the rut, males are wary but will sometimes stay in a hiding spot and let the predator walk by within a few feet.
Winter starvation is a main cause of death in Black-tail Deer, parasitic infestations is second. Their predators include domestic dogs, coyotes (pairs or more go after adults, singles go after fawns), cougars, and human hunters.
At about ten years of age, a Black-tail is considered old, although a few have lived to 12 to 14 years, and one was found to be 20! In captivity, they may live as long as 20-25 years.
The female Black-tailed Deer is called a doe and weighs 70 to 140 lbs.. Does communicate with each other using a bleat.
Does have their first young at 2 years of age during years of plentiful food. Twins are born when the Bracken Ferns have grown tall enough to hide the fawns underneath (Early May). Fawns each weigh 3 to 6 lbs. and are speckled for camouflaging.
The male Black-tailed Deer is called a buck and weighs 120-250 lbs. Weight of individuals varies depending on the availability of food. Larger animals generally live in in areas with more food, or less competition for food. Large males may measure up to 36 in. at the shoulder.
Males grow branching tined antlers (similar to Mule deer antlers) which are lost in March and re-grown in the summer. A mature male will have 5 points on each side.
Bucks rub their antlers on trees in August early September to get rid of velvet.
Breeding season, also called rutting season, occurs each November. Males are polygamous (mate with more than one female), but tend not to gather a harem of females. They usually stay with only one female at a time.
|Resources And References|