TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) -- If you've recently found yourself concerned over patchy coated deer online or at home, you're not alone. The Department of Natural Resources says its received photos and calls about deer's coat conditions. One deer biologist News 10 spoke with said the deer are just fine.
Recently, residents have spotted deer with hair coats that look patchy and dingy. Although the deer's coat might not be pretty, you can rest assured it's fine.
Each spring and fall, deer begin their molting process. That's when they shed their current coat for the next season.
Moriah Boggess, a deer biologist for the Indiana DNR explained that deer coats serve two functions throughout the year.
"This is in a way camouflage. The grey color blends in with the surroundings of the drab winter forest, and then the rich red color in summer helps deer blend into the rich colors of the summer forest," said Boggess.
The other function is that each coat serves a different thermal capability.
"The summer coat, the red coat, has shorter hair that's less dense, and it allows them to cool their body temperature more easily. In winter, the grey coat is thicker and has longer hair so it holds in that heat," Boggess explained.
According to Boggess, during the molting process, the DNR also receives calls about spotting wounds on deer. However, he explained that scars from a past tree branch or bush cut become increasingly noticeable during this time. If you see the same deer visiting your side of the woods, you should notice the new coat of hair within two to three weeks.
Although deer might look rough during this time, the molting process is normal and is no cause for concern.