Can Twin Deer Fawns Be Sired By Two Bucks?

twin fawns and doeMike: I’ve heard that twin whitetail fawns can have more than one daddy. Is that right? Dave, Alabama

Dave: Yes, and that occurs more than you might imagine!

A Texas A&M-Kingsville study found that 16 of 23 sets of twins had 2 different sires, typically one mature buck and another buck 2½ years or younger. Researchers suggest the younger bucks are opportunistic little devils, sneaking in to breed the doe just before or after the mature buck does.

And get this: Scientists at Auburn University reported 3 different buck sires for a set of triplets one time!

This is yet another reason the whitetail is such a fascinating creature…and why trying to manage a herd’s genetics is so unpredictable.

BTW, we are seeing a record number of fawns this summer here in Virginia, what about where you live and hunt?

4 thoughts on “Can Twin Deer Fawns Be Sired By Two Bucks?

  1. Whenever I talk to people I first explain to them that when a doe has two fawns it doesn’t necessarily mean they are twins (in the identical sense of the term). Generally speaking, two eggs are dropped simultaneously (one from from each ovary), so that really there are rarely truly identical twins in the strictest sense of the term (one egg fertilized and then split into two zygotes). And, that’s even if each egg is fertilized by the same buck! So, while they may be twins (because two offspring are born at the same birthing), they aren’t necessarily identical. And, so now we know that in approx. 20-25% of the time these “twins” have separate fathers?? That makes it even more confusing. So, perhaps we should always say that these whitetail “twins” are fraternal twins to help clear up the misconceptions (no pun intended, or…was it?). And, then we sometimes see “triplets”…

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