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white-tailed deer

Fact File

Scientific Name: Odocoileus virginianus

Classification: Mammalia, Order Artiodactyla, Family Cervidae

Identifying Characteristics

The height at the shoulders is 90-105 cm, length 134-206 cm, and weight (M) 90-135 kg (F) 67-112 kg. They are tan or reddish brown in the summer and grayish brown in the winter. The underside and throat are white, the tail brown above and white below. The males have antlers with main beam forward and several unbranched tines. Fawns are reddish brown and white spotted. The breeding season is from late September through February, and concentrated in the last two weeks of November and they usually produce1-3 fawns each year. They are most active during periods of subdued light. From February through August bucks are generally in small groups, during other times, bucks are generally solitary and in the fall, bucks, with hardened antlers, challenge each other for control of a harem of does. Predation is mainly in the form of harassment by dogs. Fawns may be taken by bobcat. Mortality factors include hunting, motor vehicles, poaching, depredation, dogs, fences, cripples, and trains respectively.


The white-tailed deer is common throughout the state. The preferred habitat is mixed forest of moderate age, croplands adjacent to forested areas, and early forest successional stages near mature forest. They occur in many habitats from the swamps of the Eastern Shore to the mountains in the west.

Last updated: August 18, 2023

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