WHITETAIL DEER: A Year's Cycle by Curtis K. Stadtfeld


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Stadtfeld's To the Land and Back (1972) was one of the most sensitive accounts of the decline of the Heartland's small farms in recent years, and in this study of a wide-ranging species of American deer, he is again scrupulous in relevant detail, generally unsentimental in outlook. Stadtfeld follows the life cycle of this proliferating species and supplies some fascinating information along the way: the structure and puzzling functions of antlers, the various patterns of scent responses, the deer's astonishing fecundity, aggressive postures, winter bedding, etc. He outlines the problems caused by man's destruction of natural predators and the controversies concerning the handling of over-populations of deer. Where Stadtfeld runs into some difficulty is in his inconclusive statements on animal behavioral psychology -- a field as new and controversial as astrophysics. ""Instinct"" wears thin as an umbrella word to describe what seems to be progressively adaptive behavior. In spite of this and some stodgy stretches, this is, on the whole, a good layman's view of an animal popular with both the hunter and the artist.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 1974
Publisher: Dial