White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) can be found throughout Florida from the panhandle to the keys. White-tailed deer vary in size depending on the habitat in which they occur. Adult male deer in Florida average 115 pounds while the smaller females average 90 pounds. The Key deer subspecies (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) is notably smaller, averaging just 27 inches at the shoulders and weighing 80 pounds.
White-tailed deer are primarily browsers, feeding on the leaves, shoots, flowers, and fruits of trees, shrubs, and forbs. Because deer are browsers, they may occasionally damage planted shrubs and landscaping. Fencing is an effective remedy, but it can be expensive in large areas. Repellents may have limited use.
It is important to avoid contact with fawns. Early in life the wobbly-legged fawn protects itself from predators by hiding rather than fleeing. During this time the female limits contact with her fawn to avoid attracting predators. In a week or two, when the fawn is stronger, this behavior changes. So if you approach a fawn and it does not flee please leave it alone. You can be assured that its mother is not far away. Female deer never abandon their fawns unless they are forced to by repeated disturbance or harassment!
You can receive technical assistance with deer management by contacting the FWC regional office nearest you.
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