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Whitetail Deer Facts: Everything You Ever Needed To Know

These are some known and not-so-known whitetail deer facts.

The whitetail deer is the most popular game animal in North America, and folks all over the continent make it a yearly quest to harvest one in their sometimes too short window of opportunity.

Even for those who don’t often go deer hunting, there’s rarely an occurrence in which they see a whitetail and don’t stop to observe it. They’re a common sight in many places, but also a mysterious and confounding animal, especially for those who hunt them.

These whitetail deer facts set them apart from other animals found in North America, and make them a revered piece of the natural wildlife in our country.

To digest the plants they eat, deer have a four-chambered stomach. Whitetails will eat leaves, twigs, fruits and nuts, grass, corn, alfalfa, and even lichens and other fungi. They chew cud as a result, like many livestock animals.

Whitetail deer are found in just about every portion of the United States, excluding parts of the western central states to the California coast.

RELATED: Interview with National Deer Alliance Executive Director Craig Dougherty

The whitetail got its name from the white hair on the underside of its tail. When alerted to danger, they will stick their tail straight up in the air to warn other deer.


Whitetails have scent glands on their legs and feet that they use to communicate with other deer.

Able to reach speeds of 40 miles an hour, whitetail deer can leap over nine-foot fences and walls and broad jump 30 feet with a running start.

RELATED: Top 8 Rifles for Whitetail Deer Hunting

Once they’ve set up in an established area, deer will typically not leave unless spooked by predators or human hunters.

Some experts believe the whitetail deer’s hearing is so good they can determine how far away a sound was made. Their ears can turn in any direction without moving their heads.


Deer herds are typically controlled by an older female. Bucks entering into herds fight for dominance and the ability to breed with a herd’s females.

Does give birth to one to three fawns a year, typically in the spring after a gestation period of seven months.

The term “buck” comes from Frontier days, when a male deer hide was worth $1, or one buck.

Whitetail deer have different colors depending on the season and location. Their spring and summer coats are generally reddish-brown, and they take on a duller gray color in the winter.

Hunting whitetail deer is a complex and involved process, as any experienced outdoorsman will tell you. Their outstanding sense of smell and hearing are constant forces to battle against, and they will continue to be the most sought after game species if their population numbers maintain their levels.

Overpopulation is as much of a concern as anything else with whitetail deer, and hunters are often viewed as a main tool in the management of reasonable numbers.


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Whitetail Deer Facts: Everything You Ever Needed To Know