Anatomy of a Whitetail Tarsal Gland

November 17, 2021 By: Matt Ross

Of the seven glands that deer use to communicate with one another, hunters are probably most familiar with the tarsal gland and its role when deer make a scrape. But have you ever wondered exactly how the tarsal gland works, or how it can stink so bad? The infographic below takes a look at the complex and symbiotic functions that happen to not only make that sucker smell, but also how it allows each individual deer to have its very own calling card year-round.

About Matt Ross:

Matt Ross of Saratoga Springs, New York, is a certified wildlife biologist and licensed forester and NDA's Director of Conservation. He received his bachelor's in wildlife conservation from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and his master's in wildlife management from the University of New Hampshire. Before joining the NDA staff, Matt worked for a natural resource consulting firm in southern New Hampshire, and he was an NDA volunteer and Branch officer. He and his wife Sadie have two daughters, Josephine and Sabrina.