on Deer by keara



For your safety and theirs, do not feed or entice wildlife.
                      Nature Trail - Located 1.5 miles north of the intersection of Key

                      Deer Blvd. and Watson Blvd. The trail is 0.7 miles long and winds
                      through typical pine rockland habitat consisting of slash pine and
                       thatch palms. The .1 mile Mannillo Trail spur will be built in 1997 and
                        will be accessible for the disabled.
                                    Blue Hole -Located 1.25 miles north of intersection of Key


                                      Deer Blvd., and Watson Blvd. This is an old rock quarry that
                                        has fresh water and several alligators in it. Fresh water is
                                           vital to the survival of the Key Deer.                                F
                                                         Overnight camping is prohibited. The refuge is
                                                          open during daylight hours only. For your safety
                                                           and protection, do not feed or entice the



                             Hole                                              No Name



                                       Watson       Blvd.

                                                                 Wilder Road

                                                Key                                                              40th Anniversary
     Key West                                       1                                                            Year—1997!
                                                                                      Enjoy wildlife...

      Refuge headquarters                                                             Take only memories...
      Blue Hole and                                                                   Leave only footprints...
      Nature trail parking

      Walking trail

                                                                                                                 FISH &WILDLIFE
      Refuge lands
      Look for Refuge Boundary Signs

      Areas in white are private property.                                       Marathon
                                                                                                                                                                Key Deer




      Respect private property rights.
                                                                                                                          T                            T
                                                                                                                                  EN              IN
                                                                                                                                       T OF THE

Department of the Interior / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / March 1997
The Key deer (Odocoileus
virginianus clavium) is a subspecies of the
                                                 No records exist documenting the origin of
                                                 the deer in the keys. It is believed that the
                                                                                                 (5)    Deer tend to concentrate in large
                                                                                                        numbers around public feeding areas
Virginia white-tailed deer. These deer inhabit   deer migrated to the keys from the                     and are more susceptible to
Big Pine Key and various surrounding keys.       mainland many thousands of years ago,                  contagious diseases, fighting or other
The Key deer is smallest of all white-tailed     across a long land bridge. As the Wisconsin            density related mortalities.
deer. They are not found anywhere else in        Glacier melted, the sea rose dividing the       Federal law prohibits the disturbance and
the world.                                       land bridge into small islands now known as     feeding of Key deer and other endangered
                                                 the Florida Keys.                               or threatened species and the disturbance
Due to uncontrolled hunting and habitat                                                          and feeding of any wildlife on a National
destruction, their numbers were estimated        The earliest mention of Key deer is found in    Wildlife Refuge. State regulations imple-
less than 50 animals in the 1940's. With the     the memoirs of Fontaneda, a shipwrecked         mented by the Florida Game and Fresh
establishment of National Key Deer Refuge        Spaniard held captive by the local Indians in   Water Fish Commission make feeding Key
in 1957 and intensive law enforcement            the 1550's. Records suggest that the deer       deer a misdemeanor offense. The least
efforts, the population has since increased      were found around Key West and were             obtrusive way to observe wildlife, including
and has now stabilized. The present              used for food by residents and ship crews       the Key deer, is to remain fully within your
population is approximately 300 deer with        alike. Although early records indicated         vehicle. In order to avoid disturbing animals,
two-thirds of this population located on Big     sporadic wider distribution of Key deer         do not approach on foot, extend your arms
Pine Key.                                        throughout the lower keys, current data         towards them, or attempt to call them to
                                                 indicates they occupy a range from              you. Wildlife refuges are havens for wild
                                                 Johnson Keys to Sugarloaf Keys.                 animals: do not treat wildlife or expect them
The shoulder height of Key deer is between                                                       to behave as pets.
24-32 inches. Does weigh 45 to 65 pounds                                                                         This sign indicates the
while bucks weigh 55 to 80. Rutting season                                                                       boundary of the Refuge. The
activities begin in September, peaking in        Feeding or enticing Key deer is harmful for                     Refuge Manager has
early October and decreasing gradually           the following reasons:                             NATIONAL     authorized this area open
through November and December. Some                                                                 WILDLIFE
                                                 (1) Deer that are accustomed to being               REFUGE      during daylight hours to public
breeding may occur as late as February.                                                                          access for wildlife—
The gestation period is 204 days with fawns            hand fed lose their natural fear of
                                                       humans and become easy targets for                        dependent activities such as
born April through June. At birth fawns                                                          UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY
                                                                                                     PROHIBITED  environmental education,
weigh 2 to 4 pounds. Antlers on mature                 would-be poachers.                          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
                                                                                                       FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

                                                                                                                 wildlife and wildlands
bucks are dropped February through               (2) Public feeding attracts deer to roads                       observation, and personal
March, and regrowth begins almost                      and highways where they are killed                        photography. Please stay on
immediately so that by June, bucks with 2-             each year by passing motorists.                           trails. Respect private property.
inch stubs are seen. Antler growth is            (3) Supplementing the natural diet of the
completed by August, and velvet is rubbed              Key deer with the completely unnatural                                                                        This sign indicates that there is
and kicked off in early September.                                                                 AREA                                                              no public access permitted in
                                                       foods used in public feeding may have       BEYOND                   U.S.
                                                                                                                      FISH &WILDLIFE

                                                       adverse effects on the deer's behavior,     THIS                                                              the area beyond this sign.
                                                                                                   SIGN                                                              Access is prohibited to




                                                                                                                               T                            T

                                                       reproductive capability, and even its
                                                                                                                                       EN              IN
                                                                                                                                            T OF THE

                                                                                                   CLOSED                                                            protect wildlife and habitat
                                                       physical appearance.                        All public entry prohibited

They feed on native plants such as red,                                                                                                                              and/or to protect visitors.
black and white mangroves, thatch palm           (4) Public feeding is usually centered in
berries and over 160 other species of plants.          areas of high human concentrations
                                                                                                 For additional information, contact:
Key deer can tolerate small amounts of salt            such as subdivisions. These
                                                                                                 Refuge Manager
in their water and they will drink brackish            developments expose the deer to
                                                                                                 P.O. Box 430510
water, but fresh water is essential for their          human-related accidents such as
                                                                                                 Big Pine Key, Florida 33043
survival. They must also have suitable                 entanglement in wire or other debris,
habitat to ensure their future existence.              accidental drowning in canals and
                                                                                                 305/872-3675 (Fax)              recycled paper
                                                       harassment and attacks by dogs.

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