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Deer of Florida
Joe Schaefer and Martin B. Main
This document contains
an overview of the deer populations
of Florida, their history and contemporary
The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
is the most economically important big
game mammal in North America and Florida.
The average expenditure nationally on
deer-hunting licenses, hunting equipment,
food, travel, and lodging is about $1,500
for each deer harvested. Florida deer
are also a major prey species for the
endangered Florida panther (Felis concolour)
. As a consequence, deer have been the
object of much management, research,
Within the past century,
Florida's deer herd has gone through
many changes. In the late 1930s, there
were only about 20,000 deer in the state
and they were nearly extirpated in south
Florida during an effort to eradicate
tick-borne diseases. The Florida Game
and Fresh Water Fish Commission (GFC)
responded to this by purchasing deer
from various sources-- including a game
farm in Wisconsin--and transplanting
them to unoccupied areas in Florida.
Also, killing adult females (does) was
prohibited during the early restocking
period, to further ensure success.
These efforts were successful
and now population estimates exceed
700,000 deer statewide. This number,
in combination with a growing human
population, presents new challenges.
In several areas, deer have become so
numerous, landowners complain of damage
to agricultural crops and ornamental
plantings. A similar, repopulation has
taken place with Key deer (see Table
The white-tailed deer is one of 171
species in the taxonomic order Artiodactyla,
which means "even- toed."
The hooves--actually toenails of the
third and fourth toes of each foot--support
the animal's entire weight. Other species
in Artiodactyla include various other
deer, camels, oxen, hippopotami, and
37 species belong to the family Cervidae--the
true deer who share such characteristics
as deciduous antlers (except two species);
only males having antlers (except one
species); the same dental arrangement;
reduced second and fifth toes; and a
four-chambered ruminating stomach.
Species within the family
Cervidae include elk (Cervus elaphus)
, moose (Alces alces) , and caribou
(Rangifer tarandus) . The two most closely
related deer species are white-tailed
and mule deer ( O. hemionus ), both
of which belong to the genus Odocoileus
. White-tailed deer are widely distributed
in North, Central, and South America
(see Figure 1 ) ranging from 60 degrees
north latitude near the Arctic Circle
in Canada, to 18 degrees south latitude
in Peru. There are 30 subspecies of
white-tailed deer, of which three are
found in Florida: the Florida coastal
white-tailed deer (O. v. osceola) ,
which occurs primarily in the Florida
panhandle; the Florida white-tailed
deer ( O. v. seminolus ) which occurs
in peninsular Florida; and the Florida
Key deer, with a distribution limited
to Big Pine Key in the southern Florida
keys (see Table ).
Life expectancy of deer is influenced
by hunting pressure and other mortality
factors. Although 20-year-old whitetails
have been documented, deer surviving
beyond six years typically represent
a small proportion of the herd and may
be very rare in heavily hunted populations.
The coloration of white-tailed deer
aids in their camouflage, thermoregulation,
and even communication. Coloration and
appearance of the pelage (coat) changes
with seasonal molts, with summer coats
being thinner and lighter to help deer
stay cool. Although a great deal of
individual and subspecific variation
exists in the coloration of white-tailed
deer throughout its range, all tend
to be cryptically colored in various
shades of brown ranging from tawny to
cinnamon to almost-black.
The inside of the ears,
throat, belly, rump, and underside of
tail are white. When white-tailed deer
sense danger, the tail is held upright
exposing the white underside and rump.
This conspicuous reaction known as "flagging"
quietly alerts other deer nearby. The
white flag of the does' tail also serves
as a beacon that guides her fawns as
they try to follow in dimly lit forests.
During their first 3-4 months, fawns
sport spotted coats that provide excellent
camouflage. This spotted pelage disappears
to be replaced by the adult brown coat
at about the same time the fawn is weaned.
True albino whitetails
with white coats and pink eyes are exceedingly
rare under natural conditions. Partially
white or "piebald" deer occur
more commonly than albinos, but still
at a frequency of less than 1 percent.
Whitetails tend to be larger in the
northern states. An adult white-tail
buck (male) from northern states may
exceed 136kg (300lbs) and stand 100cm
(40in) at the shoulder; a typical adult
buck from Florida weighs about 56kg
(125lbs) and the average adult female
(doe) weighs about 43kg (95 lbs). Adult
Florida deer are about 90cm (36in) tall.
Deer raised in the south tend to be
smallest of all: the Florida Key deer
is one of the smallest of all 30 subspecies
of white-tailed deer. They typically
weigh less than 39kg (80lbs) with a
shoulder height of about 70cm (27in).
Only the Coiba Island white-tail (O.
v. rothschildi) , which occurs off the
Pacific Coast of Panama, is smaller.
Antlers are a fascinating component
of deer anatomy (see Figure 2 ). Typically,
only bucks grow antlers. This is because
the male hormone, testosterone, is the
primary hormone that controls antler
growth. However, there also are documented
cases of does with antlers, although
these are rare. The most important function
of antlers is believed to be in determining
which males will breed successfully
(See Courtship and Reproduction).
Antlers are not true
horns, but are outgrowths that originate
from bony plates on the skull know as
pedicels. Unlike true horns(which are
permanent structures) antlers are shed
every year and must be regrown at considerable
expenditures of energy.
Antlers begin growing
in the spring, shortly after the previous
set is cast. New antlers possess a velvet-
like covering that provides a blood
supply carrying essential minerals.
During this growing, or velvet stage,
antlers are very sensitive and if injured
will bleed profusely.
After about 5 months--and
just prior to the mating season, the
blood supply terminates and the velvet
dries and is shed as the deer rubs the
antlers against trees and shrubs. This
is when the antlers become hard, sharp
Antlers are cast during
the winter and the formation of new
ones seems to be linked to day-length,
with new growth forming as days start
becoming longer (which is usually a
couple of weeks after the old ones are
dropped). Cast antlers are seldom found
in the woods because rodents gnaw them
and Florida's humid, warm climate enhances
The size of antlers
is influenced by genetic factors, nutrition,
and the age of the animal. Antlers generally
increase in size (up to a point) as
the deer gets older. A young "button
buck" born during the spring or
summer will have antlers only about
2.5cm- (1in) long during its first rut.
In yearling bucks (16 to 18 months old),
antlers tend to occur as spikes, although
animals on nutritious forage may have
forked antlers as yearlings.
Mature bucks typically
have branched antlers and an average
buck about four years of age often will
have eight points. Antlers of old bucks
that are past their prime may become
smaller and may form abnormally. Due
to the variability in antler formation
among deer of the same age and due to
nutritional effects on antler growth,
the size of a deer's antlers is not
an accurate indication of age. Measurements
of tooth eruption and tooth wear are
much more reliable aging indicators.
Although deer have several different
calls, compared to smell and visual
cues, vocalizations play a relatively
minor role in deer communication. Sounds
that are important include bleating
or "mewing" by fawns which
are used to summon their does.
Fawns will bawl when
in extreme danger which will often elicit
an aggressive defense by the doe. Bucks
will also occasionally bleat or grunt
when chasing does during rut. The most
familiar deer-sounds are the grunts,
snorts and foot-stomping used as alarm
calls by a disturbed or frightened animal.
Deer are crepuscular in their activity
patterns. This means they are most active
during periods of dawn and dusk. As
an adaptation to this lifestyle in wooded
areas where visibility is limited, deer
have excellent senses of smell and hearing.
Their keen sense of smell is vital in
all aspects of safety, feeding, raising
young, and mating. Their sense of hearing
is also extremely important for detecting
danger and communicating with other
deer. The eyesight of deer is also well-suited
to their lifestyle, with eyes designed
to detect motion and that possess rod
to cone ratios that enhance their ability
to see in low levels of light. Like
many mammals, deer are believed to be
color-blind and detect colors as shades
of gray. Consequently, deer cannot detect
bright orange hunting jackets.
The availability of suitable food, cover,
water, and space defines the quality
of habitat, which influences the population
size or carrying capacity of the herd.
Soil richness, which affects food quality,
also plays a role. The sandy soils found
in most of Florida are nutrient-poor
and do not provide high-quality forage
throughout the year. Consequently, these
lands support relatively low populations
of deer. An exception is areas modified
by agricultural practices, which tend
to provide deer with a nutritious supply
The availability of
fresh water is also important and appears
to be a limiting factor influencing
the distribution of Key deer. The majority
of the 300 remaining Key deer are found
in the 3,000ha (7,500 acre) National
Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key where
permanent sources of water are available.
The lack of permanent
sources of fresh water may restrict
carrying capacity to low numbers in
other areas. Similarly, rapid changes
in the availability of suitable habitat
can quickly reduce deer populations.
For example, the hundreds of thousands
of acres of deer habitat in the Everglades
can shrink to almost nothing during
flood events. This reduces the carrying
capacity and concentrates deer on high
ground where many animals eventually
die of starvation.
Deer usually reach highest
densities where the woody cover is at
least as much as the open grassland.
They thrive in agricultural areas interspersed
with woodlots and riparian habitats.
They favor early successional stages
that keep brush and sapling foods within
Several studies have
helped us to better understand deer-habitat
relationships throughout Florida's diverse
landscape. Both females and males in
north Florida's Osceola National Forest
prefer swamp and immature timber (pine,
11-30 years) habitats, and avoid clear-cut
(pine, 0-3 years) and mature timber
(pine, >30 years) habitats.
The average annual home
range size for adult females is about
250ha (1.0mi 2 ), and 650ha (2.5mi 2
) for yearling and adult males. Does'
largest monthly home range size in north
Florida occurs in October during the
peak of the rut. Bucks in the same area
begin to move over larger areas in July
and maintain their expanded home ranges
through October. In the open habitats
of the south Florida Everglades where
the carrying capacity is relatively
high, deer do not have to travel over
as large an area to satisfy their life-sustaining
requirements. The mean annual home range
size for bucks in the Everglades National
Park is about 300ha (1.2mi 2 ) which
is half of that found in the northern
Osceola National Forest. Deer with relatively
large home range sizes commonly occur
in habitats of poorer quality. They
simply have to travel farther to obtain
sufficient food resources.
Yearling males may travel
up to 10km (6mi) from their natal areas
to establish new ranges. After this
dispersal period, most deer show a strong
lifetime fidelity to their home ranges.
Florida deer eat about 1.8kg (4lbs)
of food (3% of their body weight) each
day. Like cattle, deer process their
food through four connected stomachs
and 65 feet of intestines. It takes
from 24 to 36 hours for food to pass
completely through them.
The first and largest
of these stomachs is the rumen. It does
not produce acid like a true stomach.
Instead, the rumen acts as a holding
tank full of microbes that digest most
of the plant material and make the nutrients
available to the deer. The relatively
small rumen in deer requires more nutritious
and easily digested forage than is required
by cattle which possess a large rumen.
Consequently, deer are highly selective
Their diet consists
of leaves and tender tips of many woody
shrubs and vines, succulent green plants,
grasses, acorns, mushrooms, aquatic
plants and many other types and parts
of plants within about 1.5m (4.5ft)
above the ground. Due to their selective
feeding habits, deer can change the
relative abundance of plant species
in an area. As their favorite foods
become less available, their diets gradually
shift to less nutritious and less preferred
foods which can have an adverse affect
on reproductive success.
The theory that supplemental
feed will improve antler growth of deer
in a certain area is questionable. One
north Florida study showed that they
visited feeders infrequently and yearling
males dispersed so far that many were
not on the same property during the
fall hunt. However, supplemental feeding
may benefit does and increase productivity
of a local deer population.
The breeding season (also called the
"rut") consists of several
phases extending over 3 or 4 months,
starting with sparring activity among
bucks (as soon as the antler velvet
falls off) and ending after mating.
Sparring matches are
mildly aggressive encounters which are
actually pushing contests that seem
to help establish a hierarchy or pecking
order prior to the actual breeding phase.
Courtship or chasing of does by bucks
begins about 4 to 6 weeks after the
onset of sparring. During the courtship
phase, aggressive signals between bucks
are common. Usually, one of the two
will assume a submissive posture and
turn away from the more dominant buck.
However, when two males are equally
matched and visual displays fail to
dissuade one of the suitors, they will
lower their heads and charge each other,
lock antlers and push until one is driven
back and forced to retreat. Occasionally,
these battles result in serious injury
to one or both combatants. Although
most antler fights do not last more
than 30 seconds, they become more fierce
and aggressive as more does come into
estrus and mating rights are at stake
for the bucks. Only rarely do two bucks
permanently lock antlers while fighting
and perish from exhaustion or starvation
because they cannot separate from one
North of Florida, rut
behavior of males is highly synchronized
and triggered by the shortening day-
lengths in late fall. However, in Florida
and other southern latitudes(such as
Texas and Venezuela), breeding is not
as synchronized and occurs in all months.
The timing of rut differs by region
within the state of Florida and may
also differ from one year to the next
within the same region. Rut in the Nassau,
Duval counties' area usually occurs
from October through January. The onset
of rut in the Panhandle is commonly
between a month or two later than that
in the northeast. Breeding in south
Florida occurs year-round with a peak
of rut activity from June through November.
Key deer rut occurs from September through
This variability indicates
that the reproductive patterns of Florida's
deer have evolved to unique environmental
pressures. For instance, peak periods
of fawning in the Everglades in south
Florida have been found to occur during
the January-March dry season. Fawns
from northern states are typically born
during June, a period of heavy rainfall
and seasonal flooding in south Florida.
Does that do not become pregnant during
their first estrus will come into estrus
again 28 days later. Because of this
and due to milder climates, breeding
in Florida may occur over much longer
periods than seen among northern herds.
Depending on the availability
of dominant bucks, young ones may not
have an opportunity to breed until they
are several years old.
Once impregnated, the
doe's gestation lasts about 200 days
(6.5 months). The peak birthing months
in north Florida are April through June
and in south Florida from January through
May. Key deer are born in March through
June. Because of the severe energetic
costs of lactation, the birth of fawns
is typically correlated to the availability
of highly nutritious forage. Productivity
rates of Florida deer are low and variable
compared to herds in northern states
where more nutrient-rich soils provide
higher-quality foods. Pregnancy rates
in different south Florida deer populations
have ranged from 62-96%. Nutritional
status also influences the number of
offspring a doe can have and, whereas
twinning is common in northern herds,
it is relatively rare in Florida.
Most fawns are born
on edges of open fields or in thickets.
For the first few days after birth,
fawns are nursed 2-3 times during daylight
hours. Nursing becomes less frequent
until they are weaned at about four
months. (A gland between the two toe
nails-- hoof--secretes a scented substance,
by which the doe can track her fawn
if it wanders off).
When fawns are found
lying alone they should not be assumed
to be orphaned. Wildlife do not have
baby-sitters so when does leave their
young to feed or for other reasons the
young are left home alone. This behavior
may also reduce the risk that the fawn
will be detected by a predator.
A doe will not abandon
her fawn if it has been handled by a
human. They are not panicked by human
scent because they encounter human odors
Fawns will stay with
the doe through their first year, but
are chased off by does just prior to
the birth of new fawns. The yearling
females are generally allowed to return
shortly after birth of the new fawn,
but yearling males typically disperse,
sometimes great distances, and rarely
rejoin these family groups. Eventually,
female offspring will establish a home
range near the area where they were
born and occasionally associate with
Many deer suffer injury and even death
from collisions with automobiles, entanglements
in fences, drownings, and other miscellaneous
accidents. One study published in 1964
reported an estimated 800 deer killed
on Florida highways during that year.
The Florida Department of Transportation
(DOT) places deer-crossing signs in
areas where the frequency of deer collisions
with vehicles is relatively high. The
purpose of these signs is to warn drivers
of this potential hazard so they will
proceed with caution.
Nearly all deer collisions
with vehicles occur during the hours
of darkness. When blinded by headlights,
deer can move very abruptly and unpredictably.
If you see a deer on a highway right-of-way,
slow down and be prepared to stop suddenly.
Deer seldom travel alone, and seeing
one cross the road should signal the
need for extreme caution because other
deer are likely present. In many cases,
the risk of deer-auto collisions must
be managed solely by modifying driver
behavior. However, over 40 Key deer,
(more than 10% of the population) have
died from vehicle collisions each year
during this decade.
Key deer are adversely
affected by another human- caused health
problem: hand-feeding of marshmallows
and other poor-quality foods. Many individuals
of this subspecies are very tame and
will eat out of people's hands. When
they become habituated to this style
of feeding, their nutrient consumption
is low which causes poor health and
Local flooding in the
Everglades concentrates deer on high
ground and forces them to consume low-
quality foods. During these periodic
events, many die of malnutrition and
Other potential causes
of injury and poor health are poisonous
plants, heavy metals, and pesticides.
Approximately 100 species of poisonous
plants occur in the southeastern U.S.
and every deer habitat has one or more
of these plants. Mercury and chromium
have been found in live Florida deer
but sub-lethal effects are not known.
Pesticide residues are known to increase
postpartum mortality, slow down development
of immature deer, and impair initial
conception by young does. However, these
impacts have not been documented or
studied in Florida.
White-tailed deer are
hosts to many parasites and infectious
agents. Biologists have documented 120
different parasites, infections, and
disease conditions of Florida deer.
Although every deer in Florida is not
plagued with all 120 disease agents
and conditions at one time, the average
animal will be host to a number of parasites
and infectious agents at any time. Many
of these, by themselves, will not cause
sickness or death. However, they can
cause harm if other factors such as
stress and malnutrition weaken an animal's
resistance to infection. Simultaneously,
infections of more than one agent can
have interactive effects on the host
that may be considerably more serious
than the effects of each of them separately.
Several of the diseases and parasites
of Florida deer are of public health
concern and also can be transmitted
A few mammalian predators
prey on deer in Florida. Whitetails
are the second most common prey next
to wild hogs (Sus scrofa) for panthers.
Bobcats (Felis rufus) are another important
predator. Researchers concluded that
5 of 20 deer found dead in the Big Cypress
National Preserve during 1993 were killed
by bobcats. During high-water levels
in south Florida, when deer are more
concentrated, they are also more susceptible
to bobcat predation.
Coyotes (Canis latrans)
have become more plentiful in Florida
during the past decade and likely prey
on Florida deer but no studies have
examined the impact of this mortality.
Black bear (Ursus americanus) occasionally
take newborn fawns but do not have a
major effect on deer populations. Free-ranging
dogs are a primary cause of mortality
for Key deer.
The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish
Commission manages over 1.5 million
hectares (4 million acres) of publicly
owned land and 0.5 million hectares
(1.3 million acres) of private property
for deer and other wildlife species.
The goal of the Commission's deer management
program is to properly use the species
as a natural, renewable resource in
such a manner as to maintain herds in
a condition of quality health and reproductive
To maintain a certain
population level, mortality caused by
disease, predation, accidents and harvesting
must not exceed the number of deer born.
When densities of deer become too high
for the habitat to support, deer become
very destructive to habitat. This negatively
affects the health of deer as well as
other species and, unless deer numbers
are reduced, the herd will destroy the
food base upon which it depends and
may decline to very low numbers. Consequently,
the management of deer through harvest
of both sexes is often necessary and
also provides economic return for local
economies and provides funding to state
programs that benefit all wildlife.
Because one buck can
mate with several does during one season,
harvesting bucks has a smaller impact
on population growth. However, maintaining
a high male density also has a positive
impact on productivity because the energy
exerted by females to find males is
less, allowing more energy for other
functions such as predator avoidance.
Does are harvested to maintain a healthy
herd where the population is greater
than the habitat's carrying capacity.
In the early 1980s,
the Commission began to allow the harvesting
of does as well as bucks. The total
annual deer harvest is estimated to
be about 100,000. Of these, about 94%
Annually, the Commission
oversees the monitoring of deer condition
and population trends. Commission biologists
collect data at check stations during
hunting seasons by aging and weighing
harvested deer, collecting stomachs,
measuring antlers, and examining reproductive
tracts to estimate reproductive rates.
The biologists also conduct numerous
surveys throughout the year to estimate
population trends, sex ratios and fawns
produced per doe. These and other data
are all used to evaluate the condition
of a deer herd, its response to hunting,
and to establish suitable harvest levels
and hunting seasons. In addition to
information on deer, management decisions
must take into account the effects of
recent environmental conditions on habitat
quality and the needs of native predators
that rely on deer for survival.
Because the quality
of Florida's deer habitats are so diverse
and the time of rut varies across the
state, determining harvest regulations
that will maintain healthy deer populations
while providing the best recreational
opportunities for hunters is extremely
challenging. Hunting technique is another
variable to consider. Example, airboat
hunting in the Everglades area increases
hunting success and could cause extreme
decreases in the population during wet
years. The following are only some of
the deer harvest rules. The state is
divided into three deer harvest zones:
Northwest, Central, and South. Although
the length of the firearm harvest season
within all zones is about 70 days, the
opening day varies (northwest - 4th
Thursday in November; central - 2nd
Saturday in November; south - last Saturday
in October). Archery season opens 40
to 50 days prior to the opening day
for firearms and lasts about a month.
A shorter muzzle- loading season opens
only a week or two before the firearm
season. And the northwest zone even
has a second archery season after the
firearm season. The daily bag limit
during the firearm and muzzle-loading
seasons is two antlered deer, and one
of either sex; or two antlered deer
during archery seasons.
All decisions and rules
for hunting of white-tailed deer in
Florida are determined by the Commission
and published each year in a hunting
regulations handbook available free
of charge in sporting goods stores and
at many state and county services offices.
The white-tailed deer is defined as
a game mammal in the state of Florida
and as such it is protected by several
statutes and rules. Some of the related
illegal activities described in Florida
Statute 372.99 include: 1) killing or
possessing a freshly killed deer during
the closed season; and 2) taking or
attempting to take a deer in or out
of season by use of gun and light.
Rules 39.12 and 39.13
in the Florida Administrative Code address
issues such as baiting, hunting with
dogs, hunting hours, bag limits, methods
of taking, open season, sale of venison,
tagging, and transporting.
Bellis, E. D. and H. B. Graves. 1971.
Collision of vehicles with deer studied
on Pennsylvania interstate road section.
Highway Res. News 42:13-17.
Brown, R. D. (ed.).
1983. Antler development in the Cervidae.
Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Institute, Kingsville,
Curtis, P. S. and M.
E. Richmond. 1992. Future challenges
of suburban white-tailed deer management.
Trans. N. Amer. Wildl. & Nat. Res.
Gerlach, D., S. Atwater
and J. Schnell (eds.). 1994. Deer. Stackpole
Books, Mechanicsburg, PA. 384 pp.
Goss, R.J. 1983. Deer
antlers: regeneration, function, and
evolution . Academic Press, New York.
Halls, L.K. 1984. White-tailed
deer: ecology and management. Stackpole
Books, Harrisburg, PA.
Harlow, R.F. 1959. An
evaluation of white-tailed deer habitat
in Florida. Tech. Bull. 5, Fl. Game
& Fresh Water Fish Comm., Tallahassee,
FL. 69 pp.
Harlow, R.F. 1961. Fall
and winter foods of Florida white-tailed
deer. Q. J. Fl. Acad. Sci. 24:19-38.
Harlow, R.F. 1972. Reproductive
rates of white-tailed deer in Florida.
Q. J. Fl. Acad. Sci . 35:165-170.
Harlow, R.F. and F.K.
Jones (eds.). 1965. The white- tailed
deer in Florida. Tech. Bull. 9, Fl.
Game & Fresh Water Fish Comm., Tallahassee,
FL. 240 pp.
Henderson, F.R. and
C. Lee. 1992. Controlling deer damage.
Coop. Ext. Serv. Fact Sheet C-728, Kansas
State Univ., Manhattan, KS. 8 pp.
Hygnstrom, S.E. and
S R. Craven. 1988. Electric fences and
commercial repellents for reducing deer
damage in corn fields. Wildl. Soc. Bull.
Logan, T. H. and A.
Egbert. 1981. The Florida deer story.
Fl. Wildl . (Nov. -Dec.).
Richter, A.R. and R.F.
Labisky. 1985. Reproductive dynamics
among disjunct white-tailed deer herds.
Fl. J. Wildl. Manage. 49:964-971.
Severinghaus, C.W. and
E.L. Cheatum. 1969. The life and times
of the white-tailed deer. Pp. 57-186
In: W.P. Taylor, (ed.). The Deer of
North America. Stackpole Books, Harrisburg,
Smith, T.R., C.G. Hunter,
J.F. Eisenberg, and M.E. Sunquist. 1996.
Ecology of white-tailed deer in eastern
Everglades National Park--An overview.
Fl. Mus. Nat. Hist. 39:141-172.
Table 1. Table. The endangered deer
subspecies population, (O. v. clavium)
or Key deer, also has gone through some
changes over the decades. By the 1930s,
poaching had reduced the Key deer herd
to about 50 animals. Because of stricter
law enforcement and certain conservation
practices--land acquisition and prescribed
burning of certain habitats--the Key
deer population stabilized at about
350 during the 1970s; and now approximately
300 deer are found on the lower Florida
This document is WEC-133, one of a series
of the Department of Wildlife Ecology
and Conservation, Florida Cooperative
Extension Service, Institute of Food
and Agricultural Sciences, University
of Florida. Published: June, 1997 as
SS-WEC-11 "Florida's White-Tailed
Deer". Reviewed and Renumbered:
April, 1999. Minor Revision: August,
2001. Reviewed: June 2008. Please visit
the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.
Joe Schaefer, Ph.D., associate professor
urban wildlife specialist, and Martin
B. Main, Ph.D., assistant professor,
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation,
Cooperative Extension Service, Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University
of Florida, Gainesville, 32611.
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and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is
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and institutions that function with
non-discrimination with respect to race,
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or affiliations. For more information
on obtaining other extension publications,
contact your county Cooperative Extension
U.S. Department of Agriculture,
Cooperative Extension Service, University
of Florida, IFAS, Florida A. & M.
University Cooperative Extension Program,
and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating.
Millie Ferrer, Interim Dean.