The string of 100-plus days with blazing sun In Texas got me to thinking of how whitetails (does with growing fawns and bucks with rapidly growing velvet racks) survive and thrive in oppressive summer heat, so I went to Grant Woods, one of America’s top biologists, for some answers:

“Temperatures above normal during summer certainly cause deer stress,” said Grant. How much stress is dependent on the quality of the habitat in an area. For example, deer consume more water than any other mineral (yes, water is a mineral, a naturally occurring substance) and the quantity of water necessary increases during periods of above normal temperatures. If water is limited by quantity or quality, many bodily functions are limited, such as transferring calcium to growing antlers or milk production for fawns.

“Deer can usually travel to find water. But if they are forced out of their home range to find water, which is very, very rare, it requires huge amounts of energy that can’t be used for other bodily processes such as antler and milk production.

“On private lands, if you have a management plan, during periods of above normal temperatures, the best you do is to provide plenty of quality water and heat/drought resistant forage. You can limit the amount of stress free-ranging deer experience, but rarely can you eliminate stress, especially during periods of abnormal temperatures.

“Actually, I’m glad we can’t eliminate all the stress and other variables on deer, otherwise we’d be hunting domesticated animals. The ebb and flow of the seasons are a great part of being alive and experiencing God’s creations.”—Grant Woods