If you ask anyone around the town of Nantucket how the deer came to the island, you may have some variety of answers, but generally “they swam” and “they were brought here” will be the primary responses. There is a local legend or old wives’ tale that states that our current population of more than 2,000 animals are descended from just three deer.
There is a crispness in the air now as fall begins to settle in. Among the changing leaves and cooler temperatures, another change is happening. For our whitetailed deer population, fall is the most romantic time of the year: the rut.
The rut is the magical season when deer are breeding and more active than any other time of the year. Bucks have shed the velvet from their newly grown antlers and get aggressive with each other fighting for territory and female attention. The females go into estrus and everyone is “twitterpated.”
• by Dr. Sarah Oktay, Director, University of Massachusetts Nantucket Field Station • A Biological Search for the Indigenous Life on Nantucket Not all readers of this column may know the term washashore which is used by natives to refer to newcomers who live on Nantucket who were not born […]