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whitetail deer with fawn in field

How Long Are Deer Pregnant? | Gestation Calculator

Quickly find out the approximate conception or birthdate of whitetail, mule deer, elk and other types of deer species using the gestation calculator below!

gestation Calculator
Choose animal below and select “conception date” or “birth date” to calculate the corresponding birth or conception date.
choose animal


Pregnancy Length of Deer

When it comes to whitetail and other types of deer, there are two time periods during the year that are particularly fascinating.

For hunters, the “rut” is certainly an important time, as males seek out females for breeding. During this time, the woods and hunting grounds are alive with activity and often provide a hunter the best opportunity at the buck of a lifetime.



And, while the conclusion of the rut often signals the end of hunting season for many, a different stage will soon begin. In the Spring and Summer months, does will begin birthing fawns that were conceived during the rut and a new part of the life cycle will begin.

If you frequent the woods during this time, you just might catch a peek at a small, spotted whitetail fawn. And, if you utilize trail cameras during the Summer months to keep tabs on your herd, a picture of a fawn is always a welcome surprise.

But, how long are deer pregnant, and how can you figure out when the fawns will start dropping in your area?



whitetail doe with fawns

The spotted coat of a whitetail fawn is a beautiful thing to see. You have the best chance to see these young deer in May or June.

Gestation period of Whitetail Deer

To determine the approximate conception date of a whitetail fawn or the estimated birth date, you have to first know the gestation period (how long the baby deer is in the womb between conception and birth.)

According to Mark K. Johnson, Professor at the School of Renewable Natural Resources at Louisiana State University, the gestation period for whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in the northern U.S. are similar to that of whitetail in the southern states, ranging from 193 to 205 days (Spring 2002 issue of Louisiana Agriculture).



Based on those statistics, whitetail does bred in early November would likely be born in mid-May to early June. So, female whitetail deer are pregnant for about 6 and a half months.

If you happen to have trail cameras out during the Summer months, you may catch a photo or video of a fawn with its mother. The unmistakable spots on young fawns is beautiful to see until they begin to fade 3 to 4 months after birth.

Let’s take a look at some of the other types of deer and the gestation periods of each.



Mule Deer Gestation Period

According to a 2005 report published by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Wildlife Habitat Council, the gestation period of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionuslasts) an average of 200 days. So, the mule deer and whitetail have almost identical gestation periods.

mule deer doe

The pregnancy length of a mule deer is almost identical to that of the whitetail. (photo by Jeff Coldwell)



Elk Gestation Period

While the number of days that whitetail deer and mule deer are pregnant is very similar, the elk (Cervus canadensishas) a longer pregnancy.

According the Minnesota Elk Breeders Association, the average gestation period for elk is approximately 246 days. The “rut” time period for elk ranges from late August to late October with calves typically being born in May or June.

female and bull elk

Bull elk have a gestation time of approximately 246 days.



Blacktail Deer

According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the average gestation time for a black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus), is approximately 203 days.

blacktail doe and fawn

Blacktail deer pregnancies lasts approximately 203 days. (photo by John Carron)

Chital (Axis) Deer

According to the Natural Science Research Lab at Texas Tech University, the gestation period for the Chital (Axis deer) ranges from 210-238 days.

axis chital male and female

Axis deer have a gestation range of 210-238 days.

Moose

Moose (Alces alces) calves are born any time from mid-May to early June after a gestation period of about 230 days, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

female moose and fawn

Moose calves are typically born from Mid-May to early June.

rifle pointed downrange

Hunting Season: 7 Tips to Improve Your Shooting Accuracy

When hunting season comes, you know that a lot of people are going to come out and play.

After all, the hobby of hunting isn’t just about being one with nature, it’s being able to take out your prey with skill and precision.

There are many skills needed to become what’s considered a good hunter, but the fundamental skill that everyone should have is… a good aim.

hunter shooting rifle

Becoming a better hunter includes improving your shot accuracy, which involves practice, time and patience.

Aside from natural survival skills, having a steady hand and a sharp eye is a must if you want to be a good hunter.

For some, it’s not easy to be a good shot with a hunting rifle. But, the good news is that it’s a skill that can be mastered and developed over time.

It’s important to note that increasing your accuracy does take a lot of time, patience, and of course, practice.

Hopefully, the tips below are more than enough to increase your aim by a good margin.



Practice, Practice, And Practice

Some people are good shots naturally, but others have to work to get the good aim they want to have.

If you feel as if your aim needs more improvement, it’s a must that you practice more.

Go to the shooting range to practice your aim regularly. Start with static (stationary) targets and then move on to moving targets later.

If you want to simulate the feel of hunting, go outdoors and set up targets yourself. Just make sure that you are practicing in a secluded area and only point the gun in a safe direction.

target showing through rifle scope

Practice shooting static targets before progressing to moving targets.



Abide By MOA

A lot of people think that good aim is about steady hands and a good eye.

In reality, it’s a lot about science and mathematics.

You may have heard about MOA but what is MOA and why isn’t it so popular among the best hunters? Is it really necessary to learn more about it?

rifle pointing down hillside

MOA stands for “minutes of angles,” and is equal to 1/60th degrees.

In regards to shooting, MOA means minutes of angles. For a marksman’s vocabulary, 1 minute equals 1/60th degrees in an angle.

Measuring your range by minutes may seem counterintuitive as 1/60th of degrees seems too small. However, with bullets going as fast as they can, calculating minutes can make a huge difference.

To put it simply, MOA helps you measure the bullet drop.

Thanks to gravity, everything that comes out of your gun drops eventually. If the target is further, you can expect bullet drop to play a huge factor in your successful shot.

The formula to calculate for bullet drop is:

Target distance (yards) / (divide by) 100 = inches per 1 MOA at that distance.

If you master this simple math above, you’ll be able to measure your shots better, thus allowing you to significantly improve your aim.



Check Your Equipment

Sometimes, it’s not just your skills that are a problem, it’s your equipment too.

Any hunter will tell you that investing in the right rifle and scope is a must if you want to get good shots while out hunting. It’s not always about buying the most expensive tools too.

Before you buy a rifle, read a lot of reviews about it. Check for important factors such as its weight, grip, and overall feel. Don’t be afraid to ask your local gun store about which guns are the best for hunting as they’ll most likely suggest the best models for you.

As for the scope, make sure to get one that’s versatile. This refers to a scope that can provide a good view from various ranges. Keep in mind that some scopes are best partnered with certain guns so again, complete your due research about guns and scopes before you make a purchase.

hunting rifle on tripod

Be sure to do your homework and choose a rifle scope that is versatile and will be a good fit for your specific type of hunting.



Control Your Breathing

It may not seem like much but your breathing does affect your aim to a degree. As you aim, your body moves – your arms and shoulders included. While minimal, the movement is enough to affect your accuracy while taking aim. As such, it’s important that you practice controlling your breathing.

Ideally, you should hold your breath while aiming and while you are taking a shot. When you are still aiming down, relax and stay calm. Take slow and deep breaths so that your heart rate doesn’t get too affected.

closeup picture of a gun trigger

Controlling your breathing before pulling the trigger is a critical component of shooting accuracy.

Hold Your Gun Properly

Rifles release a lot of backward force when they are fired. Those new to firing a gun are often caught off guard by exactly how powerful the firearm recoils after being fired.

It’s nearly impossible to avoid this recoil, but you can control it effectively with proper gun handling.

For starters, make sure to rest the stock of the rifle on your shoulders firmly. This somewhat controls the force as the bullet is fired. As for the trigger, make sure to squeeze it tightly and use the force on your wrist and fingers as well. 




Avoid Going For Quick And Small Targets First

If you are having trouble with your aim, it’s likely that you just aren’t accustomed to it yet.

So, don’t rush your hunting journey. Don’t go for small and quick targets first. If you force yourself in hunting them, you’ll have no time to practice your aim.

Go for larger and easy targets first. Practice your aim with them and as you get better, move on to more complex prey.

Hunting is a journey that you should never rush.



Relax

Hunting shouldn’t be a stressful hobby. In fact, it’s something that relaxes a lot of people.

While hunting, it is imperative that you stay calm and collected as this can help improve your aim significantly. This may sound cliche’, but practice being one with nature when you are out hunting.

Immerse yourself with your surroundings and focus on your target. Don’t let other factors distract you as these can throw you off your aim as well. Hunting isn’t just about good aim, it’s also about keeping calm as you stalk and take down your prey.

wooden box tower stand

While getting improving your shooting accuracy is a rewarding accomplishment, don’t forget to enjoy the simple pleasures of hunting.



Final thoughts

Improving your aim is not that difficult, as long as you know what you need to do to make it better. These tips are practical ways to do so.

Perhaps the best tip we can give you is to be patient. The journey to becoming better may seem long, but it’s well worth it in the end.

ranch fairy troy fowler with feral hog

In-Depth Arrow Testing with The Ranch Fairy [PLUS: Kinetic Energy & Momentum Calculator!]

When it comes to your bowhunting setup, knowing the “Kinetic Energy” of your arrow allows you to know how much energy that arrow possesses due to motion, from being shot by your bow. The “Momentum” tells you how much force it will take to stop your arrow when it reaches its intended target.

Kinetic Energy and Momentum Arrow Calculator

Kinetic Energy and Momentum Calculator
Arrow weight Value must be between 250 and 1000 grains.
move slider or enter value
grains
Arrow speed Value must be between 100 and 500 Feet Per Second.
move slider or enter value
fps
Kinetic Energy:
0
Momentum:
0
ranch fairy approved logo

If you know your arrow’s weight (in grains) and your arrow’s speed (Feet Per Second), then you can use our Kinetic Energy and Momentum calculator above to find out each! Simply move the sliders or enter the values in the blanks. And, if you really want to take a deep dive into the Kinetic Energy of arrows, check out what the Ranch Fairy is up to below…

Kinetic Energy And Bowhunting (How I Got Here)

the ranch fairy troy fowler

As you may already know, the ‘ole Ranch Fairy (that’s me) is quite out of the norm in his measuring of arrow systems. (If you aren’t aware, I am definitely one of the strange ones in the bowhunting world.) 

In all fairness, I have been heavily influenced by Dr. Ed Ashby’s 12 Arrow Penetration Factors and his almost 30 years-long Natal Study.  These are, in fact, the basis for my YouTube channel and all of the research I have been doing therein.

Anyway, just to set the record straight, the biggest overlap between Dr. Ed, the Ashby Bowhunting Foundation, and the Ranch Fairy is simple: We want to know the highest performing projectile for all impact points to pass through the animal you are hunting.  

The goal is maximum arrow lethality

I like to put it this way: Archery is shooting a target… bowhunting begins at impact with the target.

Finally, I am constantly seeking higher performance and am always questioning what I know today

Why?

Because the longer I live, the more I look back and say, “wow, my assumption about bowhunting 3 years ago (along with many things in life, not just bowhunting) was flawed.”

I keep learning because I kept asking “why” and kept trying to find out ”why.”




The Science Of Arrow Flight

So, now I have embarked upon the science side of the arrow. Some questions to consider:

  • Why does an arrow fly?
  • Why does an arrow fail to penetrate?
  • Why do we measure it with scientific formula?
  • Which formula is correct – OR – is it a combination of formulas?
  • Are we right? (oh man, check the man card here!)


Big Mike and a “Rocket Man”

I like to say, “It’s better to have smart friends than to be smart.” And, I have had the luxury of meeting ‘Big Mike’ who has coached me on the “functional bow and arrow flight” part of this game. 

And then, the latest addition… enter, “The Rocketman,” Darrel R. Barnette. 

Darrel spent 30 years with the Department of Defense (D.O.D.) testing “boring” things like, tank penetrators and rail guns. 

Just to clarify, the Rocketman says he technically never worked on a ‘rocket’.  But, he did shoot, test, and evaluate hard target penetrators pushing Mach 11. 

So, ya know, an arrow is a bit slower. 

darrel barnette testing kinetic energy of bows and arrows

Here’s the Rocketman “aiming’ what is known as a lab radar. NOTE: (If you have a bowhunting idea or concept, Darrel does testing and you can reach him at [email protected].)

Heretofore, Darrel is known as “the Rocketman.” 

When the Rocketman starts talking, he gives me about 15-20 minutes (until steam starts to come out of my ears) and then he pulls back on the reigns. 

Ballistic coefficient, Poncelet equation, yaw, lift, aerodynamic friction and drag, the Physics Hyper Textbook on and on and on. 

Bro! He has me doing calculus!



kinetic energy arrow test machine

The Rocketman brought some fancy gadgets to the Kinetic Energy show…



Kinetic Energy And Arrow Flight

So on to Kinetic Energy (KE), which is super boring. But, we’ll play along, since it is the most common measurement of bow efficiency.

But is it the right one? 

More to come, but for now,  I’ll stay on the rails with Kinetic Energy so the speed bow guys can relate with ‘hitting the target’.  

ki·net·ic en·er·gy

/kəˈnedik ˈenərjē/

noun

energy which a body possesses by virtue of being in motion.

Oxford Languages



The first time Rocketman said, “well, Troy, a bow is just a spring with fixed Kinetic Energy,” I thought… BLASPHEMY! 

But, from what I understand, he is right. 

The bow can’t “make” more KE. It is what it is. 

BUT, you can change the arrow and gain some…..so hang on. Let me set the table here… 

metal spring

A bow is just a spring with a fixed Kinetic Energy. It can’t make more kinetic energy than what it already possesses.

KE Arrow Testing

On a basic level, radar measures a projectile’s speed over distance. 

The testing unit that we used measures 5 total distances.  So, if you want to shoot 60 yards, the computer divides that distance into 5 increments. 

[NOTE TO SELF – you need to put the target further than 60 yards to capture the flight speed. To address this, we placed the target at 70 yards. Because, if impact is at 60 yards, the data would be flawed for velocity testing because the target stops the arrow at a yardage that it should be being measured.]



Below is the spreadsheet, graphs, etc., shooting 3 different bows under the conditions described above.  

Yeah, its super small. I don’t intend for you to read it and geek out (but that’s coming… keep reading!)

Just know that it’s a lot of information, and we ran the best test we know to do… today anyway.  (See my comments on being smart, today, included earlier in the article.  We will be smarter very soon!)

graph and spreadsheet of kinetic energy testing on bows and arrows

The Tools In Our Kinetic Energy Toolkit

The three bows we used in the Kinetic Energy testing were:

  1. Elite Kure 65#/28.5” draw
  2. Xpedition Xcursion 6 65#/28.5” draw length (my beloved “Pamela”)
  3. Mathews DXT 70#/29” draw length

I bare shaft tuned 350, 300, and 250 spine Sirius Apollo arrows to achieve the following arrow weights (in grains): 388, 436, 514, 589, 616, 670, and 718. 

Our goal was to see the ‘launch’ velocity vs. 60 yard ‘impact’ velocity. (Remember the target was at 70 yards).

Just to revive our blasphemy! “A bow is a kinetic energy spring, with fixed kinetic energy”. 

heavy arrows and filed points for kinetic energy arrow testing

Rocketman has his gadgets, but what would Kinetic Energy testing be without some “adult” arrows?



Test Results (and fancy graphs, oh boy!)

So, the charts below tell us the story.

The top line is the launch velocity. The change in velocity is super boring… Until you look at the 60 yard impact KE. 

The gap in the data sets shows the significant reduction in KE over distance. However, you see that gap narrow as arrow mass increases. 

expedition excursion kinetic energy graph
elite kure kinetic energy graph
mathews dxt kinetic energy graph

As you can see, in all the above graphs, the launch KE is relatively constant, but alas, further away, at 60 yards, with higher mass projectiles, we see something worth pondering. (Well, only if you think math is correct!)



What are the results telling us? (Please pardon the steam coming out of my ears)

So, despite my heavy arrow bias, (I’m not much of a hair splitter), increasing launch KE 3-6 ft/pounds is really boring. 

But the lower line, at 60 yards, is worth chewing on. 

If you search around, many of the wide mechanical broadheads suggest KE’s of 45-60 ft-lb’s. Now, they don’t go out on a limb and say, “that will create a pass through, or break bones.” It’s just a recommended impact KE. 


Formula for Kinetic Energy:
K.E. = 1/2mv2
(where m=mass of object and v=velocity)


And be clear, just like the firearms world, this is launch KE, maximum velocity. This is because a projectile can’t go faster once it leaves the muzzle or the string… It’s always slowing down. 

Silly aerodynamic drag. 

Now in a vacuum… oh wow, throw in some zero gravity and guess what?

It still doesn’t go faster….. it would maintain launch velocity and you wouldn’t be able to breathe to test it. 

Aw Shucks.



archery field points in prescription bottles

Some adult field points and some, ahem, “super weenie points.”

There have been multiple companies and YouTube personalities showing fixed blade vs. mechanical pressure testing on deer thoraxes and other items simulating a critter. They use very complicated mechanical devices down to something as simple as a bathroom scale. 

Let’s just say, the HUGE differences are eye popping.  

It’s not half a pound or 3, it’s exponential. The “precision” of the device doesn’t matter when the difference is 40 pounds.  Please search those tests up, because I know you’ll go do it anyway.   

sir isaac newton

When it comes to arrow penetration, harder things push back harder… you can just blame Sir Isaac Newton for that and keep my hate mail down!



Final Thoughts (For Now)

So, here’s the thing to ponder…

If X brand broadhead requires 50 ft-lbs to penetrate and another type takes, say, 10 ft-lbs., which one leaves you more energy to continue pushing? 

Remember Newton’s 3rd law…“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

So in this case, the tissue will push back 50 ft-lb on the one broadhead and 10 ft-lb on the other… but the arrow is exerting 70 ft-lb.

Given that, the broadhead requiring 50 ft-lbs has to have at least 50.1 ft-lbs. to continue moving and the 10 ft-lb broadhead requires 10.1 ft-lbs to keep moving.

The arrow has to overcome the equal and opposite push back exerted by the tissues: hair, meat, bone, etc.

sirius arrow shafts and heavy field points

If you can shoot between the ribs every single time, none of this matters. I’m not that good, so give me the heavy stuff!



PLUS, here’s the kicker.  Harder things push back… harder.

You can just blame this on Newton’s 3rd law of physics. This will keep my hate mail down!

So, for the 50 ft-lb broadhead, if your bow produces 70 ft-lbs, you have 20 foot pounds of extra work potential.  

Now, with that same bow generating 70 ft-lbs, shooting a beefier broadhead that only requires 10 ft-lbs to penetrate, has 60 ft-lbs of extra work potential. 

If you could guarantee you’d never hit anything hard on a deer, elk or other critter, and always shoot between the ribs, none of this matters… you have a winner. 

I’m not that good. So, give me all the extra I can get!



What’s next…

What we haven’t studied, is actually shooting the different broadhead platforms to measure the exit velocities or impact velocity.  That one will take “some doing” to get it right. 

Trust me, I want to know if I am right and “why.”  The math here says I am.  But Dr. Ed always says, “we won’t know until we actually test it under those conditions”. 

So, we will. 

This is why you donate to the Ashby Bowhunting Foundation, so we can go test these things and increase your effectiveness. 

More to come.

ranch fairy wearing shoot adult arrows shirt
Troy Fowler, aka “The Ranch Fairy”

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