whitetail deer

(Odocoileus virginianus)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

whitetail deer


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Common and widespread


Prairies, forests, swamps, wood lots, agricultural fields.


2 to 10 years


Total length: 71 to 84¾

Tail: 11 to 14

Photo by Christa Rittberg


The tail is wide and ends in a black tip. There is no rump patch around the tail. When the animal runs the tail stands erect.

On males the antlers develop on a main beam that grows forward. Branches on the antlers are either unbranched prongs, or prongs with minor branches. They do not split equally.

The males are about 20% larger than the females.

Sign In the winter scat is a pile of pelets. In the summer, when there is more moisture in the diet, the pellets bunch up into larger masses. Fresh scat is dark and shiny. After a few days it loses the sheen. It lightens in color as it ages.

Isolated occurances of mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in Minnesota have been reported. The mule deer has much larger ears. There is a white rump patch around the tail. The tail is thinner than the tail of the whitetailed deer, and ends in a black tip. When the animal runs the tail hangs down. On males the antlers develop on a main beam that grows upward, rather than forward. Each branch of the antlers are split into a forked pair.


Leaves, twigs, shoots, acorns, berries, and seeds, grasses, and herbs.

Life Cycle




Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 7, 13, 15, 24, 29.

The range of Dakota whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus dacotensis) extends into western and northwestern Minnesota.

The range of Kansas whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus macrourus) extends into southern Minnesota to about the Minnesota River Valley.

Northern whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus borealis) are found in the northeast, north-central, central, metro, and southeast regions of the state.





Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates)



Cetruminantia (ruminants, whales, and hippos)


No Rank:







Cervidae (deer)



Capreolinae (new world deer)



Rangiferini (reindeer and new world deer)

Subordinate Taxa

northern white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus borealis)

Carmen Mountains white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus carminis)

Key deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium)

Coues white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus couesi)

Dakota white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus dacotensis)

Hilton Head Island white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus hiltonensis)

Columbian white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus)

Kansas white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus macrourus)

Avery Island white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus mcilhennyi)

Blackbeard Island white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus nigribarbis)

northwestern white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus ochrourus)

Florida coastal white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus osceola)

Florida white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus seminolus)

Bull Island white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus taurinsulae)

Texas white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus texanus)

Hunting Island white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus venatorius)

Virginia white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus virginianus)





Virginia deer


white-tailed deer

whitetail deer









Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this mammal.

Dan W. Andree


It had a few green plant seeds stuck on it. One on the forehead and a couple on the body front area. Since they are a little bigger they seem to get around more and one needs to watch in out of the way areas or backroads one never knows when one could spook and dart out in front of a vehicle. They are cute that is for sure.

  whitetail deer    

Whitetail deer fawns...

They were very cute!

  whitetail deer  

Kirk Nelson

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

  Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary    

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit
Doe and fawn, just off the Bluff Trail

  whitetail deer    

Crosby Farm Regional Park
Whitetail deer can be seen throughout the park. I saw this buck near the parking area at Shepard Road and Elway.

  whitetail deer   whitetail deer

Fort Snelling State Park
Resting deer seemed unconcerned that I was only 10-12 yards away

  whitetail deer    

Christa Rittberg

  whitetail deer   whitetail deer
  whitetail deer   whitetail deer

Wayne Rasmussen

  whitetail deer    

Bill Reynolds

Caught this deer working along a backyard in the city of Duluth.

  whitetail deer    


MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos



  whitetail deer   whitetail deer
  whitetail deer   whitetail deer


  whitetail deer   whitetail deer
  whitetail deer    
  This blue urine spot is a sign of deer browsing on common buckthorn.    





  White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Bill Keim
  White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)  
  Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer)
Allen Chartier
  Odocoileus virginianus (White-tailed Deer)  
Craig A. Mullenbach




Visitor Videos

Share your video of this mammal.

  Whitetail doe
Dan W. Andree

Published on Jan 16, 2015

A curious doe in early spring. It looks like she is not that far away from giving birth to fawns.

Dan W. Andree

Published on Feb 18, 2015

While filming out in the woods I came across a fawn that first ran off then came back. I stood quietly with my camcorder ready as it approached so close I had to stop filming it and just enjoy it's closeness.


Other Videos

  White Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)
Andrew Baita

Uploaded on Aug 23, 2010

some deer Odocoileus virginianus shot with a canon t1i in 720p

  Whitetail Deer (Cervidae: Odocoileus virginianus) Antlered Males
Carl Barrentine

Uploaded on Aug 2, 2010

Photographed west of the Agassiz NWR, Minnesota (02 August 2010). This one's for you, Floydstinkyboy. ;-)

  White-tailed deer - Odocoileus virginianus - YouTube

Published on Aug 20, 2012

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the Virginia deer or simply as the whitetail, is a medium-sized deer native to the United States (all but five of the states), Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America as far south as Peru. It has also been introduced to New Zealand and some countries in Europe, such as Finland, Czech Republic, and Serbia. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate.

In North America, the species is most common east of the Rocky Mountains, and is absent from much of the western United States, including Nevada, Utah, California, Hawaii, and Alaska.


  Whitetail deer rut behavior

Uploaded on Nov 13, 2010

A white-tailed deer buck (Odocoileus virginianus) demonstrating typical rutting behavior by rubbing on tree branches and creating a scrape with its front hooves. Visit www.eagleeyeimaging.net to view images of white-tailed deer and other wildlife.





Visitor Sightings

Share your sighting of this mammal.

Kirk Nelson

Location: Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

whitetail deer

Dan W. Andree

Location: rural Norman Co. MN

They were very cute!

whitetail deer

Kirk Nelson

Location: Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Long Meadow Lake Unit

Doe and fawn, just off the Bluff Trail

whitetail deer

Kirk Nelson

Location: Crosby Farm Regional Park

Whitetail deer can be seen throughout the park. I saw this buck near the parking area at Shepard Road and Elway.

whitetail deer

Wayne Rasmussen

Location: Gull Lake, MN

whitetail deer

Kirk Nelson

Location: Fort Snelling State Park

Resting deer seemed unconcerned that I was only 10-12 yards away

whitetail deer

Bill Reynolds

Location: St. Louis Co.

Caught this deer working along a backyard in the city of Duluth.

whitetail deer


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