Outdoors Journal: Deer notes

  • Article by: JIM GILBERT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 5, 2009 - 10:25 PM

The white-tailed deer is the largest wild animal in southern Minnesota, and its running speed is about 30 miles per hour up to a maximum of 50 mph. Still, a deer depends on camouflage and its keen senses to survive. Deer are strong leapers that can clear objects 7 to 8 feet high from a standing position. Whitetails also can swim, but enter deep water only when pressed.

Deer are colorblind, seeing the world in monochromatic tones and shades of gray. They do not appear to see an object that does not move; however, the slightest movement will be seen immediately. Even the blinking of a human eyelid can be enough to send the alerted deer running off .

The sense of smell plays a very important role in a deer's world. Observations show that a distance of one-third of a mile is the maximum range that a scent could be detected by deer. Their hearing is also excellent. Ears are constantly in motion, picking up sounds of possible danger. Alarm calls of the bluejay, American crow or red squirrel can send deer bounding away.

JIM GILBERT

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