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What’s a Noob To Do?Bob Humphrey is the Biology & Deer Behavior field editor for Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine and holds similar titles with other major hunting publications.

He currently lives in Maine with his wife and two children. For more information about Bob, visit his website at www.bobhumphrey.com.

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Spot On:

Spot On

They say a leopard can’t change its spots, but whitetail fawns definitely outgrow them. We know the spots help fawns blend in as a form of camouflage, but do they have any other significance? This week’s Ask the Biologist question takes a look.

QUESTION: I have been reading “The Yearling” by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. The writer says several times that the pattern of a fawn’s spots is an indicator of a whitetail’s sex, spots being aligned for males and more random for females. Is that truth or myth? — Nicky

ANSWER: Like the book itself, the concept that you can tell the sex of a fawn by its spots is pure fiction. Without handling them, it is difficult to tell the sex of fawns, but it becomes easier as they get older. The top of a buck fawn’s head will appear slightly more flattened, while that of a doe appears more round. Of course, you need to have several deer present to recognize the difference. You also need to take into account variations in individual deer, which is why it’s not a very reliable indicator.

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Recent Questions
The Case of the Missing Leg
Bob, what do think could have caused this buck to lose part of its hind leg? By the way, it has mostly been seen in an urban setting around our neighborhood, including my back yard.
 
Can Deer Be Picky Eaters?
Bob, I put in a small plot of winter turnips that are growing very well. The trouble is, the deer are not eating it! Why might this be?
 
Late Season Food Plot Planting
Can you recommend something good to plant in my food plots at the beginning of October? I hunt in northern Illinois.
 
Can Buck Fawns Grow Spikes?
Bob, is it possible for a 6-month-old buck fawn to grow spikes? We have a healthy food supply and good genetics, and believe we've seen a buck fawn with 2- to 3-inch spikes.
 
If They Aren't Ticks...
Bob, here in the Deep South, seeing small ticks on the underside of deer while field dressing them is normal.
 
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