order Artiodactyla contains all the even-toed ungulates. These are the mammals
that basically led to man’s transition from hunter to farmer, including goats, camels, pigs, oxen, cattle, buffalo and
sheep. Other mammals in this order
include hippopotamuses, llamas, giraffes, deer, pronghorn, and
antelopes. These mammals first
appeared about 54 million years ago. The canines are usually reduced or lost (as in the
white-tailed deer), and the upper incisors are greatly reduced or absent (as
in the case of deer and elk).
This order and the order perissodactyla (horses, zebras, rhinos, and tapirs) make up a group called ungulates. Unlike the even-toed artiodactylas, the perissodactyla are odd-toed. Although this group has no taxonomic status, it refers to a broad group of herbivorous mammals that are more or less specialized for cursorial (running) locomotion. This refinement of running abilities is a function of their evolution on the expanding grasslands of the Miocene Period. Speed became the primary means of avoiding predation, and seasonal movements to seek water or appropriate food probably became an important part of the ungulate mode of life. Many ungulates have become large, in part to minimize predator pressure, but also due to the large digestive systems required to process the voluminous quantities of low-nutritious vegetative material necessary for its energy needs.
The Old World seems to have been the center of evolution of the Artiodactyla order, whereas the perissodactyls developed mainly in North America.
Three suborders exist in the artiodactyls, based on the tooth and horn structure. Suiformes (pigs and hippopotamuses) have low-crowned teeth with low, rounded cusps and relatively large canines, adapted for an omnivorous diet. They do not have horns or antlers. They form a unique group that has evolved with short legs and a squat body. Some species within this suborder have two chambered stomachs (pigs and peccaries), while others have three chambered stomachs (hippopotamuses). None of these stomachs are ruminating.
The next two suborders have
evolved long legs, made for running, a long set of broad molars and a
specialized stomach for handling a purely vegetarian diet. These are the ruminants. Their
stomach utilizes microorganisms that ferment hard-to-digest molecules,
converting them into useable forms. It
is this partially decomposed food that is regurgitated as “cud” to be
further ground by the ruminant’s molars before further processing.
They swallow the food rapidly, with little chewing, and then may retire to
some secluded spot to digest it more thoroughly. Tylopoda (llamas and camels) have
a three chambered stomach, with teeth cusps elongated
longitudinally into crescents. Ruminantia
(deer, elk, caribou, moose, giraffe, pronghorn antelope, bison, sheep, goat,
and others) have a four chambered stomach, with teeth similar to the Tylopoda, but generally sport horns or
antlers. Other adaptations of
these vegetarians are flexible necks and lips.
Finally, as a concession for running, all ruminants run on their third
and fourth toes, sheathed in thick, hard keratin, with the lateral toes
in sunny, often open exposed areas, they have developed excellent senses of
sight and smell to detect predators. They
are often gregarious (safety in numbers) and give birth to precocial young.
The exception is the white-tailed deer (and, to a lesser extent, the
moose) of the woodlands, who give birth to altricial young, who are hidden in
the brush until able to travel with the mother.
For additional information on ungulates, go to MAMMOLOGY.
Worldwide, the Artiodactyla order is represented by 221 species in 86 genera in ten families (Nowak's Walker's Mammals of the World).
North America supports
26 species in 19 genera, representing five families (Jones et al. 1997 Checklist of North American Mammals).
This includes fourteen exotic species that are known to support reproducing
populations in the wild.
This includes fourteen exotic species that are known to support reproducing populations in the wild.
In the Suidae family, the European wild hog (Sus scrofa) is known to exist sporadically throughout the Southern Appalachians. This is the source of the Arkansas razorback and the domestic hog, or pig. It is not a native; there are no native pigs in North America. Instead, North America is home to three species of peccaries, restricted to the New World; found in southern Texas and to the south. These feral pigs now occur from Texas to Florida and the Carolina, in West Virginia and New Hampshire, throughout California, on eight of the major Hawaiian islands, and on Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is estimated that these free-ranging pigs number 500,000 - 2,000,000.
Within this Appalachian region, the wild hog is most notably present in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Any hiker in the Smokies has seen the extensive rooting that decimates herbaceous and other groundcover vegetation. These feral hogs are descended from an original population of thirteen young boars released in April of 1912 in a game preserve on Hooper Bald. About 1920, an estimated 100 boars escaped and began it’s spread, breeding freely and hybridizing with feral domestic pigs along their way. Kellogg (1939) stated: “So far as known to Arthur Stupka, park naturalist, no wild boars have come into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He believes that the Little Tennessee River, which separates the park from the Cherokee National Forest, may constitute a real barrier against the northward spread of this introduced species.” Unfortunately, this was not the case. It is believed that they entered the southwest quadrant of the park in the late 1940’s, in the vicinity of Calderwood. Since then, the boars have moved eastward at a rate of about 1.65 miles per year. Their presence on Gregory Bald was first noted in 1958, with an estimated population of 500 concentrated in the region between Cades Cove and Fontana Lake in 1959. Trapping began that same year. By 1980, the estimated population in the park was 1500, with a density of 265 boar per square mile in northern hardwood forests in the western half of the park. At that time, a moratorium was placed on shooting boars in the North Carolina side of the Park. Instead, local volunteers were organized to trap and remove as many hogs as possible. Unexplainably, those captured boars were transported and released in national forest in North Carolina. From 1959 through 1977 (18 years), 1,143 boars were “removed” from the park. From 1977 though 1993 (16 years), a total of 6,316 animals were removed. However, recent annual harvest in the Park has substantially declined. With the same amount of labor spent, the number of boars caught has fallen from 1200 in 1986, to only 203 in 2000. These catch per manhour expended ratios indicate that the population in the Park in 2001 is somewhere between 400 and 600.
boars in the Smokies breed year-round with peaks in late fall/early
winter and late spring/early summer, with litters averaging between 3 and 4
per litter (one litter per year). Seasonal
movements between higher and lower elevations occur (March/April and
August/September). Studies have found 58% of their spring/summer diet
consisting of spring-beauty corms (approximately 70% of their spring diet is
subterranean in origin), an average of 1.75 salamanders per stomach (mainly
red-cheeked), and hard mast comprising 60 to 85% of late summer diets.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has an excellent webpage on The Wild Boar in North Carolina. (Go to the "species" link at the top row. Then, "publications", and then you'll see it listed under the NC Wildlife & Wildlife Management Publications.)
The only member of this order found in the Appalachian study area, which has survived in the wild, is the white-tailed deer. The deer were nearly extirpated in the 1920’s but have rebounded since that time, while being augmented by re-introductions in various locations.
The last moose (Alces alces) were extirpated in Pennsylvania probably by the late 18th century. However, the lack of historical records of moose in Pennsylvania suggests that the species was always poorly represented in this state, preferring the boreal spruce forests and aspen and willow thickets of New England and Canada.
ruminant, the elk, or wapiti, extirpated from the eastern US, has been re-established in
the Appalachian study area in Pennsylvania and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (2001)
in North Carolina and has been reintroduction in Tennessee, Kentucky, and
Arkansas. (Actually, the native eastern elk subspecies has become
extinct. The introduced elk is a
Due to the controversy and extent of recent introduction efforts in many eastern states, the elk is included below as a separate listing.
In the Bovidae family, the American bison (Bos bison) has long been extirpated from the Appalachian study area. Also known as the plains buffalo, this member of the Bovidae family (bison, muskoxen, antelope, goats, sheep, and cattle - differing from cervids by the presence of permanent unbranched horns on males and most females) was last seen east of the Mississippi in the early 1830’s. Buffalo apparently were more abundant in Virginia than any other Atlantic state. In fact, they were still abundant in the Charlottesville area at the time of Thomas Jefferson’s birth (1743). Buffalo were particularly common in the Mount Rogers area of Virginia. Even today, in the Elk Garden area of Mount Rogers, the remains of a once huge buffalo wallow can be found being used by cattle that now graze the land.
Buffalo, who can interbreed with domestic cattle, were themselves domesticated and bred in captivity in Virginia, with both bison-calves and mixed breeds commonly found among western settlements of Virginia in the late 1700’s. (A little more about the domestication of buffalo can be read in the discussion of John James Audubon’s Quadrupeds of North America.) Rockfish Gap (at the southern end of the Shenandoah National Park) was a major buffalo pass, leading across the Shenandoah Valley and through Great North Mountain.
In the Smokies and surrounding area, bison
ranged throughout much of the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
They traveled from North Carolina to the Great Valley of East Tennessee
(the southern extension of the Shenandoah Valley) through the Cumberland and Great Smoky mountains along the Holston and French
Broad Rivers. Large southern
populations were found in the Cumberland Valley bluegrass region of the
Nashville, TN area.
last bison in North Carolina was recorded about 1760. The last bison killed in Pennsylvania was in Union County, in
1801. The last bison in Virginia was said to be killed by Nathan
Boone, a son of Daniel Boone, in 1797 along the New River. The last bison
killed in West Virginia was in 1815, 12 miles below Charleston, along the
Great Kanawha River. Stephenson says the
last bison in West Virginia was killed near Valley Head, Randolph County in
1825. The last
bison in Kentucky are dated to 1800, and in Tennessee, between 1800 and 1810.
In 1819, a male bison was sent to Paris to be a part of the world's first national zoo, under the Supervision of Frédéric Cuvier, younger brother of the museum's famous professor of comparative anatomy, George Cuvier. After a disastrous first birth, where both the calf and cow died, Frédéric ultimately decided that bison were unsuitable for farming because "every time one turned one's back on the museum's bison, it charged."
bison of this region is the same plains bison of the western US (Bos
bison bison). It is believed
to be a separate subspecies from the woods buffalo, Bos
bison athabascae, generally limited to western Canada, north of
N. latitude. (The subspecies
designation comes from the Athabasca River, which flows through northern
Alberta; home of the 17,000 square-mile Wood Buffalo National Park.) Recent mitochondrial DNA comparisons suggest that subspecific
distinction may not be justified (i.e., they're both the same species with no
woods bison is generally larger, less shaggy, and has a more pronounced hump
than the plains bison.
an original pool of 60-70 million bison, 30 million bison existed in 1870, with
only 1,000 existing by 1889. There
are probably about 250,000 bison in North America today. Most are in captivity, but at least three herds are free
roaming. One free ranging herd is called the Wild Bunch, after Butch Cassidy’s
gang, located in the Henry Mountains of southern Utah. A second herd is in Alaska, and the third herd is actually
the wood buffalo in the above mentioned Wood Buffalo National Park.
(According to a 1994 National Geographic article, 4,000 existed in
Yellowstone National Park. At the Flying D Ranch near Bozeman, MT, Ted Turner had about
5,700, with another 2,100 at a ranch in New Mexico.)
Additional information on the bison can be found at the US FWS website.
of the Cervid family (deer, caribou, moose, and elk) are best characterized by
the presence of antlers, found generally only on males (caribou females also
have antlers). Cervids are
ruminants; possessing four stomach chambers, thus enabling them to chew their
cud. Upper incisors are lacking.
The canine teeth are absent in the white-tailed deer, and are poorly
developed in the elk. They tend
to be gregarious and all are herbivores; some specializing as grazers (grass
eaters) and others as browsers (eating leaves and twigs).
woodland species of moose and deer are much less gregarious than the caribou
and elk, adapted to the more open habitat.
Antlers are appendages of the skull, composed of a solid bony core and supported on permanent skin-covered pedicels. In our temperate zones the antlers begin to grow early in the summer, during which time they are well-supplied with blood. They are soft and tender and are covered with a thin skin, which bears short fine hairs and has the appearance of velvet. By late summer the antlers have attained their maximum size. The blood then gradually recedes, and the thin skin with the velvety hair dries, loosens, and is rubbed off. By the time the velvet is shed all circulation of blood has ceased; thus, when shedding takes place there is no bleeding and probably not even discomfort for the animal. After the velvet is rubbed off, the antlers serve as sexual ornaments and weapons. The antlers are shed each year from January to April, following the mating season, taking about two to three weeks. In a single deer both antlers are usually shed within several hours or days of each other. First year antlers are unbranched straight spikes. Throughout the deer's life, the size of the antlers is a function of the animal's diet.
It is generally accepted that North American cervids arrived on this
continent from Asia at various times from the middle Miocene to the late
Pleistocene, between 1 million and 18 million years ago.
moose, extirpated in Pennsylvania in the late 18th century (and
only known from Highland County, VA glacial age deposits), is the largest
cervid, weighing up to 1300 pounds.
There are 41 species of deer worldwide, representing 17 genera (Nowak's Walker's Mammals of the World). There are nine species representing six genera found in the wild in North America (Jones et al. 1997 Checklist of North American Mammals). However, only 5 species in 4 genera are native to North America (elk, black-tailed and white-tailed deer, moose and caribou).
Two cervids are found in the Appalachian study area; the re-introduced
elk, and the white-tailed deer.
Region Distribution: Originally, throughout, although totally
extirpated from eastern US by the late 1800’s. Now re-established in
several north-central counties in Pennsylvania and in the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park (see Remarks below).
wapiti was originally described as Cervus
canadensis, but is currently believed to be the same species as the
Eurasian red deer, C, elaphus. In Europe, the common name “elk” applies to the what we
call “moose”; thus, the reason for the preferred common name “wapiti”,
meaning “white rump” in Algonquian language.
are the most vocal of eastern US ungulates.
The wapiti has a higher pitched voice than woodland cervids like moose.
This is because deep, low-frequency sounds travel better through
vegetation than higher pitched sounds and, conversely, higher pitched sounds
travel best across unobstructed open space.
Bugling is an accurate sign of male strength, and is a major attraction
used by females in picking a mate. (As
mentioned above, it is believed that the cow selects the harem to which it
will belong, and not the bull that selects the harem.
The cow has ample opportunity to leave a harem if she so desires.)
are also a quality of males that females observe in their selection.
Antlers can weigh up to thirty pounds and have a spread of five feet.
Reproductive hormones are excreted in the bull’s urine, and it, too,
is a reliable signal of reproductive condition.
Therefore, bulls will spray themselves with their own urine and wallow
in it to impress the females.
this bugling, growing large antlers and, well, ok, so wallowing in urine doesn’t
use much energy, but the first two items do require the bull to utilize a lot
of energy in the late summer period. This
means a lot of foraging in the summer must occur, and this implies a large
foraging range in search of browse.
the rut, the stressed bulls are weakened and more vulnerable to predation.
At this point, the antlers are a liability, both in terms of weight and
visibility, and will fall off quicker for populations living in forested
habitats than those living in more open habitat, who may need them for defense
and competition among other elk for more limited food sources.
The last recorded in Virginia were killed in Clarke County in October, 1854, and January, 1855. In Pennsylvania, the last recorded was in Elk County, in 1867. The last elk in West Virginia were found near the headwaters of the Tygart and Greenbrier Rivers in 1875, but were gone by 1890. Also, every county in Tennessee had elk. The last one shot was in 1849.
have been introduced to north-central Pennsylvania, dating back to 1913.
The stocking program, which totaled 177 elk, ended in 1936.
145 of these elk came from Yellowstone National Park.
A hunting season ensued from 1923 to 1932, when low stock ended the
harvest. By 1965, the population
may have been 35 individuals (or less).
As of 1982, an estimated population of 125 existed within an 80 square
mile area within Cameron, Elk, and McKean counties.
By 1997, the resident wapiti population exceeded 300 for the first
time. In the winter of 1998, 33
wapiti were transferred east to the Kettle Creek Valley area within the Sproul
State Forest (Clinton County). It
is expected by the year 2000, the total state population will reach 500,
inhabiting an area of 800 square miles. (The
best viewing is the Elk Viewing Area on the top of the mountain beyond the
village of Benezette (presumably, this is Winslow Hill), or anywhere along the local roadways near that town. To find the Elk Viewing Area, take the road across from the
Benezette Store, on Route 555, north a short distance to where the pavement
forks at the Benezette Hotel. Keep
to the right and follow the road to the top of the hill. The Elk Viewing Area is on the left side of the road.
Recently, a 217 acre tract located in Elk State Forest, near Benezette,
has been acquired for the protection of the wapiti, and is a popular area for
viewing.) The best time of the
year is September.
introduced into Virginia in 1917. Between
140 and 150 were taken from Yellowstone National Park and released in Bland,
Botetourt, Cumberland, Giles, Montgomery, Princess Anne, Pulaski, Roanoke,
Russell, Warren and Washington counties, with the first limited hunting
allowed in late December of 1920. By 1922, an estimated population of 500 elk existed in
Virginia. An additional 56 wapiti
were imported from Yellowstone in 1935, released in the Sugar Hollow section
of Giles County and Botetourt County near Natural Bridge.
By 1940, the Giles-Bland herd was estimated to contain approximately
100 animals and the Botetourt-Bedford herd approximately 25 animals.
At this time, there were no white-tailed deer in these areas, those
being extirpated by the late 1800’s. A
total of 85 white-tailed deer were released in the 1950-1956 period that
flourished. However, these deer
were heavily infested with roundworms (brainworm), a nematode parasite, which
proved lethal to the wapiti. The
last wapiti was seen in the Botetourt-Bedford range in 1970, and in the
Giles-Bland range in 1974.
After much study and public hearings, Virginia decided in 2000 not to proceed with re-introduction studies of elk for the state. This was based on agricultural concerns expressed by many farmers as well as the acknowledgement of existing, albeit, unrequested, entry into SW Virginia of reintroduced elk from Kentucky.
An experimental release of elk
in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park began with the introduction of 25
in the Cataloochee area in 2001. 25
more are planned for release in both 2002 and 2003, for a total of 75.
This will be a five year experimental release program. Their
impact on the vegetation of the Park and the rare plants of the
unique high-elevation balds will be assessed as part of this experiment.
This highly publicized effort, like the red wolf re-introduction effort, is
being driven by the Park's stated mission of returning native species to the
area. (Apparently, the Smokies were near the southern limits of the elk’s
former range, and never heavily populated this area.
None-the-less, elk were common inhabitants of the North Carolina
northern Piedmont and all of the mountain counties.)
However, the most ambitious elk reintroduction effort attempted in the east goes to Kentucky. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) has begun the release of wapiti into the Robinson Forest (University of Kentucky property) in eastern Kentucky. Since 1997, more than 750 elk have been released in this area. An estimated 200 wapiti will be released each year until 2007 in this area and land owned by Cyprus-Amax Coal Company, managed by the KDFWR, for a grand total of 1,800 elk. Elk from this release in southeastern Kentucky, have already migrated into Virginia, and, in part, has caused the Commonwealth of Virginia to shelf any plans to reintroduce elk to Virginia at this time.
The reintroduction of elk into
eastern US states is becoming a major attraction to state hunting programs.
Funding for much of the state studies to consider reintroducing elk is
supported, both financially and politically, by the Rocky Mountain Elk
Foundation, a private organization. Additionally, most of the elk are being supplied
through the Rocky Mountain
Elk Foundation. While
hunters, State game commissions, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation are
active supporters of such reintroduction efforts, some question the net
ecological benefits of introducing these large herbivores to our eastern
woodlands. Acknowledging the
current pressure on the plant community presented by the deer population, the
addition of new, and larger grazers is viewed by some to only amplify this problem.
With limited natural predation, population control can only be had
through human “harvesting”, which is not a viable option in the National Parks, and
other areas where hunting is not permitted.
Additionally, residents in Pennsylvania are already seeing damage to
their crops by the elk population and are receiving state compensation.
Not surprisingly, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is providing funds
to the states for this compensation program.
More information about the
introduction efforts and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation can be viewed by
going to ROCKY MOUNTAIN ELK.
Studies as of 1995, suggest there are some 400,00 elk that presently roam the western mountain and plains areas, and 782,500 in the US and Canada. About 100,000 are killed each year (as of 1982).
Region Distribution: Throughout.
White-tailed deer evolved
in North America approximately 4 million years ago. Their ancestoral Asian ungulate stock evolved more like 60 million
years ago, shortly after those dastardly dinosaurs were deemed dispensable.
There are two species in the genus Odocoileus, the white-tailed, and the mule, or black-tailed deer. However, keep in mind the tail of the white-tailed is dark and the black-tailed is white. Actually, the tail of the white-tailed is brown above and white laterally and below, while the black-tailed is white or black above and tipped with black, and is a bit smaller in size. Also, the antlers of the white-tailed has one main beam with minor branches, while the antlers of the black-tailed branches into two nearly equal parts.
Deer are the most popular big-game mammal in eastern US. Bucks become quite aggressive when in rut. While young deer make good pets, a newly mature buck has often attacked its owners due to the increase in testosterone, responsible for antler growth and maturation. Antler growth is directly related to genetics and nutrition, with nutrition playing the greatest role in the size of antlers. Antler growth is triggered by a change in photoperiod, or day length. As day length increases, the pituitary gland in a buck's brain produces a hormone which stimulates the pedicels to begin growing antlers. Concurrently, the pituitary triggers the testicles to begin producing testosterone in small amounts. Antlers grow from March and continues through late August, supported by a vascular, soft skin, supplying nutrients necessary for growth, called "velvet". By late September, the hormones change; the velvet shuts down it’s growing process, and the male sloughs off the dead skin, producing the common scrapings found on bushes and young trees in the bucks’ range. By late December to February, a pituitary hormone called androgen, which has maintained the point of connection between the antler and the pedicel, now decreases in levels, causing a portion of the base of the antler to be reabsorbed, causing an abscission layer (like leaf bases in the fall), resulting in the antler falling off, usually one at a time. In another six to eight weeks, the new buds start the cycle over again.
While antlers are growing ('in velvet'), they are susceptible to injury and subsequent malformation. This is why a buck can be found with one normal antler and one deformed. Interestingly, injuries to the large leg bones may cause abnormal development in the opposite side antler.
Antlers, replaced annually (as opposed to permanent horns),
are first produced at 1 1/2 years of age, and are the largest at
the peak of the breeding age (usually 5 1/2 - 7 1/2), not the oldest age. In the
eastern US, all points on both antlers are counted, while in the western US,
only a single antler is counted, so that a 10 point buck in VA is a 5 point
buck in CO. Females with
excess testosterone may produce small antlers (one study states one out of
4,000 does; Chapman and Feldhamer reports 1 in 1,000). Antler size
increases with age, but cannot be used to age a deer, due to habitat quality
and calcium intake variations. It
is not unusual to encounter yearling and two year old bucks without antlers
due to poor nutrition. Similarly, yearlings have been found with small
eight-point racks in areas of high quality habitat. Normally, 1
1/2 year old bucks have forked antlers, or, less often, spikes. Spikes
would be more likely in yearlings bred in December, rather than the normal
November rut. For
eastern US deer populations, a rack with eight points is most common. Racks with 11 or more points is found in one buck per 20 to
70. One buck per 300/400 will
have 13 points or more, and one in about 1,000 to 1,300 will have 15 or more
points. Only one in about 4,500
to 5,000 will have 17 or more points.
deal with winter by putting on body fat in the fall, reducing their metabolic
rate, producing a heavy winter
coat, and moving to “deer yards”.
to popular opinion, fawns are not scentless.
Research biologists have used dogs to locate fawns by scent.
Their scent is much less pronounced than an adult, but does exist.
is not clear why deer raise their white flag tail as they run away.
A warning to other deer, a distraction to the predator to protect the
young, a “follow me” sign to the young, or a startle effect to confuse the
predator are all proposed explanations. The
explanation given the most weight is a “I know you’re there, so you’ve
lost your advantage, and you might as well give up”.
(Perhaps a liberal use of anthropomorphism, but you get the idea.)
white (piebald) deer are not uncommon. Albinos
are more uncommon, with several being reported at Fort Pickett, VA. Melanism
is extremely rare, but has been observed.
The Key deer of Florida is a subspecies of the white-tailed deer (O. virginianus clavium), averaging 50 pounds. As of 1945, only 26 individuals were known to exist. Full legal protection has allowed this number to swell to an estimated 350-400 in the early 1970's. However, continued loss of habitat, killing by automobiles, and other mortality has caused an drop to about 250 animals in 1999, with the trend suggesting the likelihood of extinction within the next century.
between mule deer and white-tailed deer occurs in the wild as well as in
captivity, where most of the offspring are sterile.
white-tailed deer had to be reintroduced in the Shenandoah National Park in
the 30’s (the last deer were chased down by packs of wild dogs), the Smokies
maintained a scarce population that has repopulated the park.
West Virginia never totally lost their deer population, but only scattered herds could be located in the remote high mountain areas by the early 1900's. Reintroductions starting in 1933 and continued until 1957.
hunting accounts for 2 million deer harvested in the US, with another 500,000
deer killed each year in collisions with cars.
following presents the total number of white-tailed deer in Canada and the US
Precolonial 23 to 40,000,000
300 - 500,000
25 to 27,000,000
In certain areas, like the Great Lakes region, where logging has created favorable habitat, there are more deer now then in pre-Colombian days.