Pregnant Whitetail Does at Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Every time I visit the beautiful Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma, I’m delighted to encounter the resident Whitetail Deer. These graceful creatures are a constant presence, often passing through my campsite or grazing nearby. On my recent trip, I had the pleasure of observing several Whitetail Does on three separate occasions, either wandering through my camp or in the surrounding areas of the refuge. While I spotted a few bucks in the distance, unfortunately, I couldn’t capture any decent photos of them.

The Whitetail Doe's Precious Cargo
The Whitetail Doe’s Precious Cargo

One thing that particularly caught my attention was that all the Whitetail Does I saw appeared to be pregnant. This struck me as unusual, as I would have expected most of them to have given birth by now. You might recall my blog post from last June, “Witnessing a Pregnant Whitetail Doe,” where I discussed the birth process of these remarkable animals.

Whitetail Doe Checking Out My Camp Neighbors
Whitetail Doe Checking Out My Camp Neighbors

Intrigued by the prevalence of pregnant Does at this time of year, I decided to do some research. Here’s what I discovered:

  1. Gestation Period: The typical gestation period for Whitetail Does is around 6–7 months or 193–205 days. Does bred in late November or early December would be expected to give birth in late May or June. So some late-bred Does could still be pregnant in early June.

  2. Delayed Breeding: If a Doe’s first breeding attempt is unsuccessful, she will re-enter estrus 21–30 days later. This “second rut” activity in December/January is often attributed to young Does reaching sexual maturity late and being bred, rather than adult Does re-breeding. Their later conception dates would mean some are still pregnant into June.

  3. Regional Variation: While the peak breeding time is typically early-to-mid November in northern regions driven by photoperiod changes, there can be some regional variation. In warmer southern areas like Oklahoma, the breeding window may be a bit more spread out compared to northern states.

So, it seems that a combination of the normal gestation period timeline, young Does being bred later, and potential regional differences in the breeding window could all contribute to some Whitetail Does in Oklahoma still carrying late pregnancies into the month of June.

A Whitetail Doe's Majestic Presence
A Whitetail Doe’s Majestic Presence

Witnessing these pregnant Does gracefully navigating the refuge was a remarkable sight, and a reminder of the incredible resilience and adaptability of nature. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, and I look forward to future visits to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, where I can continue to appreciate the wonders of the Whitetail Deer and the diverse wildlife that calls this place home.

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