Nature Bulletin No. 114 May 3, 1947
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
William N. Erickson, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation
The white-tailed or Virginia deer is the best known of all our large
game !animals and the only one which has so adapted itself to
civilization that it is common in or close to thickly settled regions.
There are wild deer in the Palos and Deer Grove preserves of Cook
County. In some states they have increased to the point where,
frequently, many starve for lack of winter food in spite of thousands
killed annually by hunters.
The Virginia deer probably has played the most important part of all
our native mammals in the history of this continent. The beaver
influenced the exploration and conquest of the Northwest Territory. The
buffalo played a vital part. But the deer, numerous almost everywhere
east of the Great Plains from the Gulf to Mexico to Canada furnished
the principal supply of meat and clothing for the Indians and for the
early explorers, trappers and settlers. The expert woodcraft and
markmanship of the Continental riflemen and the pioneers were learned
in hunting the deer, squirrel and turkey.
The white-tailed deer, black-tailed or mule deer, elk, moose and caribou
are all members of the deer family. Antelope are not. The deer, camel,
giraffe and ox families are hoofed mammals with four chambered
stomachs. They live on vegetation which is swallowed without much
chewing and enters the first or "rumen" chamber. Later, portions are
brought back up and thoroughly chewed as "cuds". When a cud is
swallowed it goes into a second chamber, then a third and finally a
The white-tail buck stands from 36 to 40 inches high at the shoulder
and weighs from 150 to 300 pounds, or more. Each spring he grows a
new pair of antlers which are shed the following winter. The does are
hornless and smaller. From one to three, usually two, fawns are born in
late spring or early summer, marked with large white spots which
disappear before winter. The adults are reddish brown in summer,
grayish brown in winter, with white underparts. The tail, held stiffly
erect when they trot or run, is pure white underneath and very
What would an alderman do if he had four stomachs?
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Update: June 2012