As we bid farewell to winter and welcome spring, we witness a remarkable transition in the wildlife. One of the most striking changes in this season is observed in Whitetail Deer as they shed their winter coat. Shedding is a natural process that enables these deer to regulate their body temperature with the rising temperature of the season.
Shedding is a common phenomenon where animals discard old or damaged hair, feathers, or skin. In the case of Whitetail Deer, shedding helps them to prepare for the warmer months by shedding their thick and insulating winter coat. This coat is designed to trap heat and keep them warm in the colder weather, but as the temperature starts to increase, the coat becomes more of a burden than an asset.
The process of shedding is initiated by changes in photoperiod, or the amount of daylight, and rising temperatures. As the signals are sent to the deer’s body, it begins to grow new and lighter hair that is more suitable for the warmer weather. This new hair replaces the old, thick hair, which then falls out, completing the shedding process.
During my recent visit to the Goss Slough area in Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, I came across a doe that was shedding its winter coat. To capture this stunning moment, I used my Fujifilm X-T3 camera with a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II lens attached via a Fringer EF-FX Pro. Shooting in aperture priority mode (AV) with a shutter speed of 1/170 of a second at f5.6 and the ISO at 1600, I was able to capture the essence of this natural phenomenon.