Newspaper Archive of
The Glenville Democrat
Glenville, West Virginia
November 25, 1976     The Glenville Democrat
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November 25, 1976

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4 The Glenviile Democrat/ Pathfinder November 25, 1976 White tailed deer has matriarchal society Gilmer County BY ROBERT LEO SMFrH Dr. Smith. professor of wildlife management at West Virginia Univer- sity, is the author of a textbook used throughout the nation and in Canada, "Ecology and Field Biology." This column is made available through the cooperation of the Morgantown Dominion-Post. ttt Four deer came to the edge of the clearing, looked around carefully, then ran across the field to the protection of the woods on the other side. A hunter hidden near the edge muttered to himself, "Does, the whole bunch of them does." Had the hunter some appreciation of deer social organiza- tion he would have expected little else. He would have known that rarely could he expect to sae a mature buck in such a small band of deer this late in the fall. The group of deer that the hunter saw undoubtedly was a family group, the only 8octal unit that exists among the white-tailed deer. In 811 probability it consisted of an old doe and her fawns and her previous year's GILMER COUNTY AUCTION BARN Top Town Hill Glenville We sell antiques, new and used merchandise. Consignments accepted at 5:30 p.m. on Monday. SALES START 6:30 P.M. ROBERT J. BUTCHER Auctioneer The white-tail groups the hunter encounters in the fall or observes in summer are matriarchal units. Leadership rests with the oldest doe. who is the only permanent member. and her offspring of several years. The makeup of the group changes from year to year and the group itself breaks up temporarily in the spring with the coming of the fawning season. Just before the fawn is born the doe leaves any deer that may be accompanying her and seeks seclusion to give birth to the fawn. In a month or so after the young are able to follow the doe, the yearling doe of the past spring, who perhaps has also given birth to a fawn. will rejoin her mother. The following spring the yearling doe, now two years old, may leave her mother who is then accompained by the offspring of the previous spring and her new fawns; or the first offspring remains with her mother through the third year. when the band then may consist of seven or eight deer. What about the bucks? You may see one or two of them traveling with a group of deer in the summer. They are probably the yearling offspring of the old doe with whom they are traveling. By the time the velvet is shed. the yearling bucks will abandon the group and strike out on their own. Bucks accompanying the family group in late fall have probably joined to seek a doe. Then one of the does may temporarily leave the group to accompany the buck. However, he exerts no leadership in the group. His interest is strictly egocentric. In this the white-tailed buck is no different from a male of other species of deer. The matriarchal deer asserts her dominance over the others in the group by aggressive acts such as kicking or striking with her front feet. She is the lead deer when the group moves and she has the first choice of food. Christmas Gifts for the Hunter or Fisherman Small down payment will hold gifts until Christmas Shotguns Rifles Hand Guns Scopes Pallet Rifles Compound Bows Buck and Case Knives Rods and Reels Gift Certificmes for hunting and fishing licenses PINE MANOR GROCERY North Lewis Street Glenville, WV Will You Be Getting A I I I Where deer congregate during the winter adult bucks and does. yearlings and fawns mingle together. There is some breakdown in social organiza- tion, although social groups may still be recognized. In such deer concentrations, more prevalent in the northern states than in our own region, adult bucks appear to be dominant over females, although even here some old does will dominate the bucks. Adult does in turn are dominant over fawns. In such situations, fawns may be the losers since they are denied access to food until all the others have eaten. In severe winters little may be left and fawns will be the first to die of starvation and after them. the yearlings. Why deer maintain such small social groups is not clear but the system obviously must have some value to the survival of the animals. Once the fawns are weaned, they are no longer dependent upon their mothers, and the yearlings certainly are not. Perhaps in time gone by. when large predators were common, small well-knit social groups led b n older experienced animal were less vulnerable to predation. Bucks. on the other hand. live a life of their own. In late summer, as the days begin to shorten, changes take place in the buck. The antlers which have been growing all summer under the stimulus of one hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, cease to grow. Under the stimulus of a summer of long days. the, pituitary gland has stimulated the production of a new hormone in the buck, testosterone. Blood vessels supplying the antler dry up and the vel,:et begins to shed and peel, exposing a dense hard bony weapon. The buck's neck becomes swollen and he begins to shadow-box saplings and shrubs and to paw the earth. The shy and retiring buck of summer, who ignored other bucks in the woods, becomes truculent and aggressive. Bucks at this time of year take an active interest in the does. They trail the does, chase them, and fight off other bucks. When the bucks first become interested in does in late September and early October. the does are not interested in bucks and usually avoid them. But the situation changes in late October and November when the does' estrus cycle begins. Even the the period when a doe will accet a buck lasts only 30 hours. If conception does not occur within that time the doe will not accept another buck for another 28 days. A buck travels with a doe for four or five days. He usually trails her for several days before she is receptive. and he will remain with bar several days after. Then-he leaves her for another. Thus, in the course of a breeding season, a buck may mate with four to seven does. Because of the bucks' polygamous relationship to does. a number of bucks may be removed from a deer herd without upsetting the productivity. At the same time. this behavior is the reason why the removal of bucks only during a hunting season does not reduce the deer population. But if the ratio of bucks to does begins to spread too widely, many does may not mate successfully until late in the season - January or February. This late breeding results in the spotted fawns hunters sometimes see in the fall. The breeding season ends almost as quickly as it begins. Under the shortening days of fall, the level of testosterone in the buck's system declines. A narrow zone of bone beneath the coronet of each antler is absorbed and the antler - like a leaf on a tree - begins to loosen and fall. Depending upon nutrition and general state of health, a buck may drop his antlers as early as November and as late as December. But most bucks are antlerless by late December or January. The bucks then are no longer interested in does or the does in bucks. They have a long cold winter to face. All this dispels the myth that the stag of buck is the lordly monarch of the forest, Bambi's father being no exception. The buck asserts no leadership, even in small groups of males, and he certainly plays no role in the defense of doe and young. In fact, in the face of danger, the buck usually flees the fastest. Hard as it may be for us males to accept, the fact is that the world of the white-tailed deer is a "woman's world." FIND IT IN THE WANTADS! S( )ols basketball Normeetown Boys Basketball Schedule Dec. 16 Sand Fork Home6:30 Dec. 9 TL-.' Dec. 20 Gassaway H(mm6:30 Dec. 13 Dec. 22 Tanner Away0:30 DeC. N Jan. 4 Troy Away6:30 Jam 1 lea. 6 Sutton Home11:30 Jan. S Jan. 13 Glenville Awaye:30 Jan, t0 Troy Jim. 17 Tanner Hameik30 Jan. 13 Jan. 24 BurnsvH]e AwayS:N lair. 10 Troy Jan. 27 Troy liome6:N jan.  Tamer , Jan. 31 Gassaway Away6:30 ]mt... SandYel Feb. 3 Burnsvflle Homa30 Feb. 1 SuClem Feb, 7 Sutton Away11:30 Feb. S Feb. 10 Sand Fork Awaylk30 Feb. 10 SuIMo Feb. 14 GlenvilJe Home6:30 Fill. 14 Seed Fork Boys BuketbeU Schedule Dec. 13 BurnsvtUe Rome 1:00 Dec, Dec. 16 Normantown Away 8:30 Dec. 11Tiimta Dec. 20 Tanner Home 0:30 Dec. 30 Jhttt Jan. 10 Burnsvflle Away 7".30 Jan. 13 Gaaway Away 7:30 |mL Jan. 17 Sutt Hme 7:S0 |an, I T Jan. 20 Tanner Away 8:30 jan. Jan. 24 Sutton Away 7:a0 Jm. 11 Su4a Jan. 27 GionviUe llomo 8:30 Jan. lY Jan. 31 Tray HOmo JI0 Jan, 10 GJemdJ8 Feb. 5 Glonvme Away Iklt0 Jan. 14 Feb. 8 Troy Away 11:110 |mr. IT Feb. 10 Normeetown Hems 0:.30 |. al Feb. 14 Gmaway Hems 7"AI0 Fill. IJ Feb. 10 Feb. 14 Conservation planning offered Conservation planning is the heartbeat of our environment today. It is not only important to farmers, either full or part time. but also to urban landowners and land users. What is conservation planning? It is a plan for conserving and using our natural resources wisely. WE mme- times take for granted the soil which produces everything we usa and need go over discrm the accordin8 to tl ! This is then Conmtion line for you done on your to live, Without conservation planning, natural you would see e predominance of Ncluen o( barren land robbed of its productivity by wind and water erosion. If yon w What can be done to keep this CmmervaUon from happening? Throu8h the U.S. technical Department of Agriculture. Soil ties progr Conservation Service. in cooperation Junior Kae with the West Fork S.C.D.. a plan can Soil Cone be developed for your property. This located in plan consists of aerial photographs of Glenville. Record deer kill predicted The 1976 bucks-only firearm season could be the best in the htury of West Virginia. according to Dan E, Caniner, wildlife resources chief. Mountain State hunters are expected to kill approximately 30,000 v / Christmas Club " : : Coats Check OFF ? Entire Stock ,/ Now Reducedj q - I I Specialty T -Ill If so, you'll be thanking the stars for your foresight, if not, why 00)llop don't you come in now and ,dgn yourself up for next year? Think Wastes how great it will be to have your Christmas money all saved! And do you know we pay interest on our Christmas Club accounts? Good deal? KANAWHA UNION BANK Men:i,,,rFDIC We ore now open i i I ' ' every Monday - Friday - $tm'doy until 8:00 P.M. bucks durinJ flraam 28,713 Nt bMdl Hancock have year. Eastern 88 many as spotted. in the Ritchie and countiea Poeahoutu. sot it t : A 1"4| : ,, : to cl If I may Let 0 e I,