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The Secret Life of Whitetails cover photo

The Secret Life of Whitetails 2013


Distributed by Janson Media, 88 Semmons Road, Harrington Park, NJ 07640; 201-784-8488
Produced by Gary W. Griffen
Directed by Gary W. Griffen
DVD , color, 88 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Animal Behavior

Date Entered: 04/24/2013

Reviewed by Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State University Libraries, Bowling Green, OH

White-tailed deer, also known as Virginia deer, or whitetails, are an extremely adaptable species common in North America and in South America as far south as Peru. Since it has a limited number of natural predators, chiefly wolves in the northern and western extremes of its habitat, the prolific whitetail is abundant through most of its range and thrives in forests, farmlands and the suburbs. Since their chief predator is the human hunter, the numerous whitetails are frequent victims of automobile collisions, and their browsing preferences for suburban shrubs and farm crops (corn, soybeans) often encourage farmers and home owners to label them as pests.

This feature was written, produced and filmed by Gary W. Griffen who also edited video and sound. The story is narrated by Peter Coyote. Cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. Griffen follows the whitetail through its year from birth in late spring, preparation for the rutting season over the summer, antler growth, changes in bucks’ behaviors for the rutting season, the rut, and wintering over. The abundance of whitetails and their ability to tolerate humans leads to overbrowsing of flowering plants in the suburbs, impacting the success of wild bird species. The filming appears to have been done predominantly in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. Other animals shown in that part of the whitetail’s habitat are bears, coyotes, chipmunks, bluebirds, catbirds and hummingbirds.

This video is recommended for those interested the natural history and behavior of the white-tailed deer. The whitetail’s temperament, physical abilities and tolerance for humans is well documented in the video as is the rut and mating behavior. Audiences of high school age to adult are appropriate for the DVD’s content. Janson Media also makes available on DVD a video on elk habitat and behavior, Elk in America