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Whitetail Deer in History


The Origins

Whitetail Deer have been seen prominently in North American history for thousands of years. Whitetails were one of few herbivores that survived a widespread extinction roughly 12,000 – 15,000 years ago, often referred to as the Pleistocene. One of the suspected reasons as to why they survived is the fact they are able to adaptive to landscape changes and were able to thrive even after human population brought habitat changes into their view. They were widely found across the land, and since they quickly reproduce there was a steady population of them.

Native Americans have long time held the first connection of whitetail deer. They made sure to never waste a part of their deer. Food of course is the first thought of why they were hunting, but they used deer hides for clothing and bones too help make tools. You might be saying, well there’s a lot left if that’s all they used. Archaeologists have found proof of the native people using internal organs, sinew, and antlers for food storage, ornamentation in homes and clothing/ jewelry, and in additional tools. Whitetail Deer hides were also a common item used in bartering.

Hunting didn’t always look as it does now. Sure, traditional archery played apart in the Native American’s whitetail hunting however some methods were a very not so traditional. After depicting writings that have been discovered, historians believe that they used techniques as pitfall and snare traps. More drastically, there were some instances where they believe the deer were ran off cliffs and trapped into an area by water or fire.

When the Europeans took up home, whitetail deer again played a large part of their lives. They were a main source of food, tool crafting, and clothing making. Trading their hides was a very large part of the settlers’ culture. While it is believed they used a lot of similar hunting approaches, they introduced using dogs to the hunting world in America. Post Civil War, the repeating rifles became one of the most used hunting tools. They improved accuracy, and efficiency of hunting. Therefore, tese two things mark the beginning of a rapid decline in Whitetail Deer population.

Although the Europeans were expanding and traveling to places that weren’t necessarily sustainable for them. Markets were purchasing venison meat from hunters to try and meet the demanding needs of the furthering population, especially in the Midwest. This didn’t help the already dropping population numbers. By the early nine-teen hundreds, it is believed the population of deer dropped to under 500,000 in the United States.

We know that deer can breed quickly, and they have recovered some throughout time however in some places the deer are still struggling. Because of that we have conservation teams who protect these animals through research and regulation. Hunting has become much more than just for meat. Most importantly, in modern culture, whitetail deer have become a face of nature for many suburban families. In addition, their hides and mounts are being found in high end home décor, are a very common point of photography, and one of the favorite things for families to stop and awe at. In conclusion, Whitetail Deer have been a staple of American History. For more little known whitetail deer facts, click here!