The History of White-Tailed Deer in Kentucky

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  • Topic: Hunting, Deer, White-tailed deer
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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The History of White-Tailed Deer in Kentucky

When our ancestors first reached Kentucky they found a great abundance of game, including deer. Early settlers utilized deer for food and clothing. Due to all the killing of the white-tail deer, around 1925 they were virtually eliminated in Kentucky. A few survived in areas such as, between the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers in western Kentucky, and a few survived in eastern Kentucky. In most places, though deer simply no longer occurred.

When the deer was on the verge of extension in Kentucky, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources stepped in. They tried to save the deer in Kentucky and they succeeded. They regulated the hunting seasons and the amount of game allowed to kill. Today we have an abundance of deer in Kentucky, we have about 450,000 deer.

The white-tailed deer breeding season in Kentucky runs from October through mid January, reaching its peak in November. Most fawns are born in June, following a seven month gestation period. Newborn fawns will weigh about four pounds at birth.

Deer offspring are cared for and may remain with the mother until the next spring. Fawns retain their spots until mid September and nurse until mid October. About 40 percent of female fawns breed during their first autumn, but usually bear only one fawn. Does breeding at age 1 1/2 or older generally have twins, and sometimes triplets. By November, Kentucky's deer population typical increases slightly more than one fawn per doe. Although many more fawns are born than one per doe, some will die before the hunting season arrives.

A deer's home range averages about 500 acres. In mountains, the home range may exceed 1,000 acres. Even though this size area can support about 40 deer, these animals will not always stay just within their home range. Many will travel on and off that amount of land different times of the year looking for the best food and cover available.

One important key in...
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