The cutest animals on Earth have started dropping, and in celebration we’ll be posting fun and informative fawn facts over the next few weeks.
Question from Dave in Alabama: Mike, I’ve heard that whitetail fawns can have more than one buck as a daddy, is that right?
In the case of twins and triplets, a definite yes. 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!
This is a big reason why trying to manage a herd’s genetics is so unpredictable.
The A & M Kingsville study shows an amazing 70% of “twins” having different fathers. I believe the percentage is a bit high for an overall study, but that is amazing nonetheless. Most of the articles I’ve read over the last several years have reported percentages in the 20s. Still though, there are many variables to studies such as these. Is it truly a “wild” study, or is it a study in a controlled environment (a.k.a fenced in animals at a University complex). Regardless, perhaps the percentage is higher than originally thought? It would be tough to do an actual study on a wild, free-ranging herd, but it would be interesting to see what a team of scientists could discover with such a study.