A Whitetail's Glands
The glands on or just below the skin produce chemicals that provide silent communication between deer, which is an advantage when you are hunted by predators. The chemicals provide a language of smells that include the pecking order of bucks, who is in town, who is ready to mate, danger sources, and a scent trail.
The various glands include:
- Tarsal gland located on the inside of the back legs at the tarsal joint. These are generally considered the most important by hunters due to the role they play in the rut. During this time the glands have urine deposited on them which is deposited into the scrape.
- Preorbital glands located near the inside corner of the eyes that it uses to rub onto a licking branch to communicate to other deer
- Forehead glands are located between a buck’s antlers on his forehead that is used to deposit his scent onto a rub
- Nasal gland located just inside the nose. Its function is not known but it is believed by biologists to have some role in communication as whitetails have been observed applying nasal gland secretions onto licking branches
- Interdigital glands located between the toes on all four feet. The function is not known for sure, but it does serve as a means of leaving a scent trail
- Metatarsal glands located about 6 inches above the hoof on the outside of both back legs. In black-tailed deer this gland has been shown to give off a scent that warns of danger, however it is not known if the same occurs in the whitetail