Whitetail deer molt 2 times a year and the first on the ranch that started this summer was this nice 10 pointer that got a jumpstart on his winter coat.  It began on his head, moved down his neck, to where in the “shots”, it’s almost to his shoulders.  At first I didn’t understand what was happening to him, I thought he had some type of chronic wasting disease, but since he’s almost 4-1/2 and, obviously, he’s quite mature, and naturally he’d be molting.

These other 2 “shots” show the 10 pointer on the 19th and then again on the 23rd, both times showing that molting had started.  The 8 he’s running with, a very nice 3-1/2 year old, hasn’t started yet.


Looking this change up on “Bing”, I found a real good article written by the Forest Resources group at the University of Georgia that appeared on Tinks blog, Tinks supplies different kinds of deer scents and the article readily identifies the different stages of the molt.

Summarizing the article, whitetails keep their summer coat for about 4-5 months before they shed again into their winter coats. While the summer coat provides protection from the sun and helps keep the deer cool, the function of the winter coat, with it’s hollow hair, is to insulate against the cold.  It’s a fact that the insulation will provide such good protection against the cold that snow can accumulate on a deer’s back without melting.  Although the coarse, hollow guard hairs of the winter coat provide good insulation, it is the finer, wooly underfur that provides the greatest insulation, these shorter, finer, twisting hairs trap layers of warm air close to the skin.

The buck’s thick winter coat keeps him warm and to help keep dry, deer manufacture their own water repellent. Associated with each hair follicle is a small gland called a sebaceous gland that secretes an oily or greasy material called sebum. This oil then coats the hair to keep it from becoming brittle and also help shed water.

Now you know all that I know about deer molting, frankly I’ve not had the game cams on the feeders except during the fall and winter, but will be interesting to see how the deer herd begins their molt and changes to their winter coat.  Just think, soon, the bucks will start loosing the velvet on their horns and soon deer season will roll around!