Is a horn an antler and an antler a horn? For the low-down on high-level head gear. This week’s edition of All Things Natural with Ed Kanze explores the fine points of horns and antlers.
Posts Tagged ‘Whitetail Deer’
The late summer and early fall weather has been ideal for exploring the Adirondack backcountry. The mostly sunny days and clear cool nights are near-perfect conditions for bushwhacking through remote and wild areas, regardless of the season. With the weather and my hording of vacation time this year, the stars seemed aligned for an interesting late season adventure.
Except for one tiny detail, it is hunting season. That time of the year when bullets and arrows fly, causing wildlife, in addition to a few hikers and bushwhackers, to flee for their lives. In my opinion, a hail of bullets and/or arrows whizzing by one’s head is uniquely qualified as the easiest way to ruin a backcountry trip.
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First I read in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise that hiker on the Northville-Placid Trail stabbed a bear that had been following her. The bear took off; she’s all right. Read the story here.
Then I read on the Times Union’s website that a bull moose had wandered into a backyard in Halfmoon, a suburb of Albany. State officials tranquilized the animal and planned to release it in the southern Adirondacks. Read the story here.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding New Yorkers to keep their distance and not to disturb newborn fawns or other young wildlife as many animals are in the peak season for giving birth.
It is not unusual to see a young bird crouched in the yard or a young rabbit in the flower garden, both apparently abandoned. Finding a fawn deer lying by itself is also fairly common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and need assistance for their survival, however, in nearly all cases this is a mistake and typically human interaction does more damage than good. Those that see a fawn or other newborn wildlife should enjoy their encounter but keep it brief, maintain some distance and do not attempt to touch the animal. » Continue Reading.
Winter is a hard time for wildlife. It brings deep cold, leafless terrain, and a shortage of food and water. Animals have few choices. Most songbirds abandon the region via a perilous migration to warmer climates. Other creatures hunker down in hibernation. But there are a number of species that remain active all winter.
This is no easy task. Mammals and birds must maintain their body heat by burning (metabolizing) their body fat – or perish. » Continue Reading.
Two program series set to begin this month in Newcomb and Keene offer events for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. The Adirondack Mountain Club’s 2013 Winter Lecture Series will take place at the High Peaks Information Center, while the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC), formerly the Newcomb VIC, will offer a variety of programs highlighting the role that sportsmen in the Adirondacks play in conservation and game management.
The AIC’s programs will begin on January 26, with a focus on white-tailed deer. Future AIC program topics will include trapping, and preparing, cooking and enjoying fresh game. This month’s program will be led by Jeremy Hurst, a certified wildlife biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Hurst specializes in managing New York state’s big-game populations.
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At the start of the New Year, the saying, “Out with the old…” may seem quite appropriate to male white-tailed deer residing in wilderness regions of the Adirondacks. As the calendar year comes to an end, bucks traditionally lose their antlers, making it nearly impossible to distinguish between the sexes when a small herd is noticed standing along the side of a road, or in a forest clearing. Some bucks may be observed supporting their characteristic boney headwear well into January or February, which reflects an abnormal ratio of bucks to does in that general area.
The primary purpose of a set of antlers is to serve as a weapon when confronting a rival buck prior to and during the rutting, or mating, season. Initially, a month or more before the first doe comes into heat, bucks half-heartedly spar with one another in an attempt to establish dominance. The testosterone level in the bucks increases with the shortening length of daylight and more frequent detection of female pheromones, which alerts the bucks to the does awakening reproductive state. This causes the level and intensity of the fighting between males to increase. » Continue Reading.
Traditionally, it is between November 4th and 18th when the peak of the rutting or breeding season for the white-tailed deer occurs in the Adirondacks. Bucks are continuously on the move during these two weeks as they attempt to locate any doe that is nearing her initial heat period.
Also, as bucks expand their search for females outside their regular area of travel, males must continue to regularly return to their home range in order to ensure that rivals do not intrude into their domain.
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The rapid loss of daylight at this time of year triggers many events in nature, including several changes in the white-tailed deer. It is in early September that a deer’s chestnut-tan summer coat begins to be replaced with much thicker and darker colored fur that is better adapted to retain body heat and conceal this big game creature in the dimmer light of winter.
Deer also experience an increase in their appetite as summer wanes in an attempt to build deposits of fat that also act as insulation and can serve as fuel when food becomes scarce during the dead of winter. Additionally, the first week of September is when bucks in the Adirondacks rub the velvety covering of skin off their set of antlers, their initial preparation for the rutting or mating season that will arrive in approximately two months. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by Stacy McNulty, Associate Director of SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry’s Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb. McNulty and her colleagues recently conducted a study of how the availability of forest mast affects small mammals.
Have you noticed a mouse explosion in your camp or garage this summer? Are black bears making mincemeat of your garbage cans?
This summer, reports of stories of Adirondack bears breaking into in candy stores and making off with campers’ food abound. The dry spring has contributed to the scarcity of food in the woods. Yet there is another reason why we’re sometimes overrun with these animals. » Continue Reading.