Back to   Skip Navigation LinksWildlife Home Page    Deer Species    Whitetail Deer
Whitetail Deer
 Whitetail Deer Facts and Information

Whitetail Deer - Buck
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service - Stehn, John

Common Name: White-tail Deer
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Odocoileinae
Genus: Odocoileus
Species: Odocoileus viginianus

The white-tailed deer are the most widespread of all the deer species. These deer are found in all of the lower 48 states, as well as southern Canada and portions of Mexico. As the name of the animal implies, the underside of the tail of the white-tailed deer is white, which is most noticeable when the deer raises their tail straight up. This is a sign that there is possible danger nearby. White-tailed deer are usually reddish-brown in late spring, and grayish-brown through the fall and winter months. A male (buck) white-tailed deer typically weighs between 140 to 250 pounds (60 to 115 kg), whereas a female (doe) usually weighs between 80 to 200 pounds (36 to 90 kg). Mature bucks have been known to weigh as much as 350 pounds (160 kg) in some regions of the United States. The length of a white-tailed deer is between 60 to 90 inches (150 to 230 cm), and range from 30 to 40 inches (75 to 100 cm) high at the shoulders. Male deer grow antlers in the late spring, and lose the antlers in late winter. When describing the antler (rack) size of a white-tailed deer, most people count the total number of points on both sides. For example, a 10 point would be 5 points on each side, whereas the size of the rack of a mule deer is referenced by the number of points on each side.
White-tail Deer - Front Hoof Print
Front Hoof Print
White-tail Deer - Rear Hoof Print
Rear Hoof Print

White-tail Deer Distribution/Habitat

Whitetail Deer - Distribution

White-tailed deer are seldom found in the high country, typically preferring the plains, forests and river-bottoms. As indicated by the map, white-tailed deer are located in all of the lower 48 states, southern Canada and portions of Mexico. Although deer populations are now approximately 25 to 30 million, this was not always the case. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, deer populations were thought to be only about 250,000 to 350,000 due to unregulated hunting. This was brought under control when wildlife conservationists and hunters raised concerns for a lack of wildlife management.

White-tail Deer Diet

Whitetail Deer - Jumping
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service - White, Phillip K.

White-tailed deer can eat a variety of plants due to their four-chambered stomachs like alfalfa, leaves, tree bark, cactus, and other wild grasses. In some areas, deer are considered a nuisance because they will also forage on farm lands for hay, fruits, and vegetables.

White-tail Deer Reproduction

Whitetail Deer - Spotted Fawn
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service - Berg, W. J.

White-tailed deer begin mating from mid-October to late November (also called the ‘rut’), depending on environmental conditions. Female deer will give birth to one or two spotted deer (fawns) in mid-May to late June, and can weigh from 15 to 20 pounds (7 to 9 kg). By winter, the fawns have lost their spots. The females can weigh up to 45 pounds (20 kg) and the males up to 75 pounds (35 kg).

Back to   Skip Navigation LinksWildlife Home Page    Deer Species    Whitetail Deer