Deer Scent Glands

As we know more about deer anatomy we relize the importance of deer scent glands. Coupled with visual and audible communication they enhance total communication among the herd. Deer Scent glands give off a strong musky odor and is how deer differentiate between one another. Deer also makeup for their lack of eye sight by having glands to leave scent as a form of identification within the herd.

Deer Glands Pic

Metatarsal Gland

The metatarsal gland is located on the outer hind legs of the deer halfway up the heel. Very little is really known about this gland. Researchers have speculated on everything from heat regulation to an alarm scent. Some even claim that it is not a gland at all.

Tarsal Gland

The tarsal gland is located inside the hind legs at the hocks. This gland is the most visible and best known by hunters. This gland is used primarily during rutting season. A buck will urinate on his tarsal glands and rub his legs together in the form of calling card to establich his dominance other deer in the area, this is called rub-urination. Bucks have been known to lick the tarsal gland to reduce the strength of the scent it produces to reduce their dominance in front of a more dominant deer.

Inerdigital Gland

The interdigital gland is found between the toes of a deer. One gland between each toe equals four glands per deer. Young fawns use this gland to help find their mother and for bucks to track doe during the breeding season. When you have seen a deer stomp its hoof at you, it is leaving a danger scent to alert other deer that pass by that area.

Preorbital Gland

Or "tear duct gland" is found in the lower corner of the eye. Used for communication when a deer rubs it's face against brush or trees. It has been said that a doe uses this gland to put her scent on her fawn for identification.

Forehead Gland

Located on the forhead between a deer's eyes. Used by deer again for communication purposes. The forehead gland secretes an oil like substance that can darken the forehead between a buck's antlers. You may have noticed that many older more dominant bucks, and some does, have a pronounced orange color patch in this area. The gland is used by bucks when rubbing trees, leaving a personalized trademark and establishing their status in the herd.


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