How much do you know about Odocoileus virginianus?

September 27, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Archery deer hunters can take to the woods Tuesday for the first time this fall.

The annual ritual attracts thousands of hunters, who killed more than 180,000 deer during the 2012-2013 seasons. The previous year, 181,451 deer were taken by hunters.

The record year was 2006, with a grand total of 201,209 deer.

Illinois is considered one of the top states in the nation for trophy deer.

Here are some interesting facts about Odocoileus virginianus:

1. The white-tailed deer is the only species of deer native to Illinois.

2. Illinois school children voted the white-tailed deer to be the state animal in 1980.

3. A white-tailed deer can jump 8 feet high or 30 feet in length.

4. Deer hooves make heart-shaped tracks that are easy to identify.

5. Average life spans are 2.5 years for bucks and 5.5 years for does.

6. Deer mate from October to January, with the peak of breeding activity (or rut) occurring in mid-November.

7. Fawns are born from late May to early June, and weigh four to seven pounds.

8. A fawn’s spots imitate light filtering through the trees to the forest floor.

9. Deer were virtually eliminated from Illinois by the late 1800s and the first modern hunting season was not held until 1957 in 33 counties.

10. Today, deer can be found in every county. There likely are more deer in Illinois today than were present when European settlers arrived.

Source: University of Illinois Extension, Living with Wildlife:

2013-2014 Illinois deer hunting seasons

Archery deer and turkey: Oct. 1-Jan. 19 (closed during firearm deer season)

Youth firearm deer season: Oct. 12-14

Firearm deer season: Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8

Muzzleloader-only deer season: Dec. 13-15 (also allowed Dec. 5-8)

Special CWD and late-winter antlerless-only deer season: Dec. 26-29 and Jan. 17-19.

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