Question: “Although we rarely hunt, there is a lot of whitetail hunting around our place. We have a deer bedding area and a nursing ground on our property. Every year the doe gives birth to twin fawns and we sometimes see the yearling doe that survived from the last year following her mom in the spring before the next birth. We typically see this type of whitetail deer movement every year, with the doe fawn from the previous year in tote with the elder doe. We also witness the kicking out of the nest which is inevitable before the next fawns are born. This year we saw something unusual: a buck, maybe last year’s fawn as a tag-along. But it was a buck.
We are now talking September 4, pretty nice size antlers, and the buck is still with the doe and current year’s fawn. They are feeding happily in the morning and afternoon on our property and seem to enjoy the habitat. They all seem to get along fine. Can someone tell us what is going on here? As far as I know the bucks are supposed to be at boot camp gearing up for the big mating game, but not this one.”
Response: When it comes to nature, nothing is a given. Although whitetail deer movement can vary from year to year, and so can family groups, it is not uncommon to see the previous year’s fawns still hanging out with their mom prior to and even after fawning the following year. Although it is more common for does to hang out, especially into September, this is not always the case.
Sometimes, buck fawns will still be running around with his mom the following year. This is not as common, but is far from unusual. Typically, young bucks are forced to disperse away from the areas where they were raised. This does not necessarily occur because of the doe, but because of an older buck or multiple bucks that occupy the area. In these instances, the young buck may move from one to five miles before it finally finds a place to call home.
I suspect the buck in your case did not get pushed out, probably because there are a low number of whitetail bucks in your area. This may not be the case, but I am willing to put money on it. Whitetail deer movement, especially in bucks, can vary a lot. Herd composition can impact these movements, but so can family group dynamics. Although yearling bucks (1.5 year old deer) do not always hang out with mom, it is not uncommon either.