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8/24/17- 2017 Deer Info

By Meaghan English, TrueSouth Properties Wildlife Specialist

I don’t know about you, but I am so glad it is August and the end of summer is very near. Summers in Alabama are not my cup of tea not only because of the weather but because it is a lull time. The only things to do in the summer are hurry up and wait for the next hunting season to roll around. So with that being said (and deer season only being a few short months away) I decided to share the new whitetail deer knowledge of 2017!

Earlier in the year, there was a “meeting of the minds” among the Southeast Deer Study Group. This group isn’t made of a bunch of people who don’t know what they’re talking about…these are the real whitetail biologists! They come together once a year and present their findings from research they have conducted throughout the previous year. They learn from each other and share ideas and knowledge about local deer populations throughout the Southeast and elsewhere. Why is this important? Because these people know what they are talking about and we all need to take note. For example, a biologist from the University of Missouri found that most does with fawns are seen mostly at mid-day, while does without fawns are either seen at dawn or dusk. This is interesting because it is the opposite of coyote movement. This leads me to believe that the deer are beginning to adapt to routines of predators and plan accordingly. It is also means that we should begin to see a boost in fawn recruitment (fawns per doe that survive past the age of six months) as coyotes are the number one culprit in fawn recruitment decline. Another very interesting scientific find is the fact that ONE deer in Alabama had ancestors that were brought over in the “Whitetail Restoration” around the 1900s. At that time in Alabama, whitetail deer numbers had greatly declined and deer from the northern United States were brought down for restocking purposes. That ONE deer is located in northwest Alabama at Black Warrior WMA. Its genealogy can be traced back to 105 deer that were transported to Black Warrior WMA from Mountain, Michigan in 1926. To me, that is amazing!! To top it all off, they picked up on a topic that I had already introduced TrueSouth Properties readers too. If you have been keeping up with the blog, you will recall my blog titled “Hurricane Screwworm”. Unfortunately, the parasites have claimed a total of 235 Key deer in South Florida in 2016. This number is staggering, as the Key deer are already endangered. It is reported that the Key deer should make a full recovery, given that mostly bucks were infected and the parasite is now under control.

This article is barely scraping the surface of what all was shared and discovered at the Southeast Deer Study Group. The information is not only interesting, but highly applicable to hunters and landowners alike. If you would like a full summary of the study group, please visit www.qdma.com!

By: Meaghan English

My name is Meaghan English, a wildlife specialist with TrueSouth. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Ecology and Management and I have grown up with a passion for hunting. I knew from an early age that I was not only interested in the harvesting of wildlife, but I was also very interested in their biology and management. I decided that I not only wanted to be a wildlife enthusiast, I want to be an educated wildlife specialist. I will be using that grand education as a member of the TrueSouth team contributing wildlife blog articles!

My first hunting memory flashes back to when I was six or seven years old. Like any other Saturday during deer season, my dad had told my mom to get me ready because we were going hunting. Of course I was ecstatic! I was not ecstatic about the hair bow my mom made me wear with my camouflage (she wanted everyone to know I was in fact a fashionable girl). The entire way to Perdue Hill, Alabama, my dad told me that today would be the first day I would actually shoot my first deer and I knew I was ready. We pulled up to the camp, unloaded, and fed all the “camp cats”. Before we headed to our stand, I had spotted three kittens that I simply could not leave behind so I stuffed them in my jacket. After walking what seemed like five miles, we finally made it to the “Pressbox stand” (with my smuggled kittens) and sat down. Dad continuously pestered me to be quiet, but I wasn’t that worried about shooting a deer, I had kittens! Eventually, the sun began to sink behind the trees and a spike (without olfactory senses) entered the field. When it was safe to quietly move, dad handed me the gun and I handed him my three kittens. I slowly pulled the gun up and placed my cheek against the stock. Dad told me to breathe slowly and pull the trigger when I was ready. Sure enough, I pulled the trigger and the spike hit the ground. We high-fived, exchanged kittens again, and climbed down to see the kill. It certainly was not a wall hanger, but a huge chapter in my life was started that night. My dad and I still hunt together to this day and we practice quality deer management at all times.

My ultimate goal is to provide clients with a survey of flora and fauna that currently inhabit a specific tract of land and, if desired, how to properly manage that land for the species that are found there. All feedback is greatly appreciated and I look forward to working with you!

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