The white-tailed deer, often mistakenly called a “chevreuil” in French, is a common and fascinating sight in our forests. It even inspired our adorable mascot, Toufou! Although it is sometimes confused with the roe deer, the white-tailed deer is larger, measuring about 1 meter at the shoulder and weighing between 55 and 170 kg (120 to 375 pounds). It is well adapted to human presence and lives for about 10 years.

In Tremblant, they are often seen roaming the pedestrian village, adding a touch of wild nature to our daily life. This article, divided by seasons, takes you on a journey to discover this majestic animal, from its life habits to its reproduction, and gives you tips on how to observe it responsibly.

Spring: The Season of Births

In spring, the females give birth, often in safe clearings. As the new births approach, the female drives away the young born the previous spring. To give birth, they choose a safe spot like a clearing covered in tall plants. They can have between one and four fawns per litter¹, weighing between 1.5 and 5.5 kg². The fawns, wobbly and extremely clumsy, are left alone for a few hours to avoid predators. During the first weeks of its life, the white-tailed deer fawn emits no body odor³, which protects it from predators such as wolves, bears, Canada lynx, and coyotes.

Summer: Feeding and Sedentary Behavior

Even though the young start grazing on vegetation, nursing continues throughout the summer. The white-tailed deer is very sedentary and knows its territory perfectly. Its diet in summer consists of grasses, leaves, tender shoots, fruits, acorns, and mushrooms. It spends most of the day ruminating, lying in the undergrowth. Its activity periods are mainly concentrated at dawn and dusk³.

Autumn: Breeding Season

In autumn, the breeding season is marked by the males’ roars and the females’ olfactory signals. The white-tailed deer mates from October to December, with more intense activity in November². The males, polygamous, stay with a female until her ovulation, then seek a new partner³. With the arrival of shorter days and increased testosterone levels, the males begin to lose their antlers after the rut. Once the growth and ossification of the antlers are complete, vasoconstriction of the blood vessels at the base occurs, and the velvet dries up. The deer then cleans its antlers by rubbing them against trees². The antlers fall off after the rut, in winter.

Winter: Adaptation and Survival

 With the arrival of winter, the deer move further south to wintering areas, where the snow is less thick and the climate less harsh?. The western slope of Mont-Tremblant hosts a wintering area that the deer use year after year. In these areas, they follow beaten paths between feeding and sheltering areas under conifers². Mont Tremblant National Park protects a significant part of the Tremblant Lake wintering area. In 2003, there were 1,740 deer in an area of 140 km², including 36 km² located in the park. Unfortunately, habitat loss in unprotected areas endangers the deer population.

Observation Tips

To observe white-tailed deer responsibly, it is essential to keep a safe distance and not feed them, as they lose their fear of humans and are often victims of road accidents. Additionally, feeding them disrupts their natural diet and creates bad habits. If a deer gets too close, make noise to scare it away. Following these guidelines helps protect this emblematic species and the natural richness of our region.

The white-tailed deer is a key element of Mont Tremblant’s biodiversity. By learning more about it and respecting its habitat, we contribute to its conservation and the ecological balance of our region.

References

¹ Pomerleau, 1973 /  ² Beaudin, 1983 / ³ Banfield, 1977 /  4 Prescott, 1996

 

For more information on Mont Tremblant’s wildlife and conservation efforts, visit the official Mont-Tremblant National Park website.