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What Is Their Place In Nature?

Deer are important to both nature and humans in different ways. First and foremost, deer are prey animals for much larger animals. Predators such as bobcats, panthers, and coyotes depend on deer for their main source of food. Since deer are large prey animals, predators will feed off their carcasses for several days. Deer are also a good source of food for humans and are a great source of revenue for many states where deer hunting is popular.

Deer are also a good source of food for humans and are also a great source of revenue for many states where deer hunting is popular. Between the hunting licenses, gun and ammo sales, and lodging for incoming hunters, states make a great deal of money with each passing hunting season.

What Do They Eat?

Deer are herbivores that eat plants, fruits, vegetables, acorns, and nuts. Some plants they may feed on are clover, alfalfa, wildflower plants, or tips of branches. They also like grains such as wheat, oats, and barley, and fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, plums, corn, carrots, sugar beets, tomatoes, cabbage, squash, and other garden vegetables.

The deer can be a real pest to humans and the environment because it is notorious for overgrazing many plants in certain areas. This becomes a real problem for other organisms that rely on those plants for survival. In turn, this has a cascade effect on predators who feed on the herbivores and omnivores. Overgrazing has started to carry over into many farmlands where deer populations are high.

Are They Endangered?

Although the white tailed deer is not currently an endangered species, this was not always the case. Deer populations were starting to dwindle in Florida, during the 1930s. People were trying to get rid of the deer tick, which carries Lyme disease. The eradication process had some side effects on the deer populations since they are the primary carriers of the bug. Conservation efforts helped to bring this key species back to Florida. Some of the efforts included restrictions on hunting, and importing deer from other areas of the United States. Today, deer hunting restrictions still exist and there are now many healthy deer populations around Florida.

Many states have place restrictions on deer hunting to keep the deer populations steady. The deer is a great example of the success of sustainable hunting. Sustainable hunting is where a population is hunted, but in a way that does not cause devastation to the population’s integrity. This includes restrictions on the time of year hunters can hunt, the type of deer they can hunt (it is illegal to hunt adult females), and the amount of deer one hunter can take.

What Kinds of Adaptations Have They Made?

The white tailed deer has made several adaptations to survive in this changing world. Deer have very strong muscles in their legs that make them capable of reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. They are very agile, which proves to be very helpful for outrunning predators like the red wolf, panther, or coyote. Also, the coloration along the deer’s body is a great example of camouflage coloration. Deer can blend in well with many of the tall grasses with the light tawny color on their backs.

For more information, see the References and Further Reading page.