Last updated on October 11th, 2018
The lifespan of a deer can be determined by many variables which makes it hard to answer the common question, “how long do deer live?” The major factors include hunting pressure, unforeseen death threats, extreme weather conditions, and regional homeland. Still, if you’re looking for a clean number whitetail have been documented to live in captivity for 18 to 25 years.
How Long Do Deer Live?
1. Where Do Deer Live?
You are likely to find white-tailed deer in 17 different countries including Canada, Mexico, United States, and the South American nation of Peru. These species have also been introduced in Finland, Slovakia, Zealand, and the Czech Republic. Although white-tailed deer can be found throughout the United States, it’s rare to see the species in Hawaii, Alaska, or dry regions such as Nevada and New Mexico. These areas lack favorable climate for their survival.
2. How to Tell the Age of a Deer
To determine the exact age of a white-tailed deer, you can pull out the lower incisor, root attached, and proceed to the laboratory to perform a cross-section procedure. Just like the stem of a tree, it is easier to determine the age of many mammals including deer by the stains on their teeth, and counting the rings that appear on them. It is important to note that this process takes time and money, so sometimes it’s easier to do an estimate of the deer’s age.
3. How is the Habitat of a Deer in the Wild Like?
A study by the University of Wisconsin on the lifespan of wild whitetails shows that it differs from those in captivity. A whitetail deer can live for 6 to 14 years in captivity while most of them do not make it to that age in the wild. This can be attributed to hunting, disease and automobile collisions. Male deer can live for an average of 2.9 years while the females can live up to 6½ years. The shortness in deer lifespan is attributed to hunting. Moreover, hunting seasons are regarded as sound management procedures to control whitetail population in many areas. If there are no hunting seasons, the population of whitetails could exceed the capacity of the land and the herd can be lead to increased corrosion rates and diseases in these areas.
4. Predation in the Life Span of a Deer
Auto collisions account for more than a million injured and killed deer every year. The wounded limp off and end up being pursued by predators. Healthy deer also fall prey to most of the predators such as black bear, lions, coyotes, and bobcats. Coyotes are the most common predators due to their large population spread throughout the whitetail range.
5. Dumb luck and Life Span of a Deer
Deer mortality could be affected by forest accidents. The most common are breaking a leg, getting hung in fences, or falling into traps. These accidents may kill whitetails before they mature. So, if you’re a whitetail buck hunter hoping to shoot a buck, remember that their lifespan is short. Perhaps you might want to hunt those that exceed the average lifespan of 4½ years.
In all of the nature, it may be hard to find another creature that is swift, majestic as graceful as the whitetail deer. They are shy and nervous, but their muscular bodies, acute hearing, and timid personality make them remarkable creatures. They form a large population of the North American land mammal and one of the most popular wild animals prone to hunting in the world.