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Watchable Wildlife: White-tailed deer

Did You Know?

An adult female deer and a fawn at the edge of the woods
White-tailed deer - Odocoileus virginianus
Photo: Susan Shafer
  • Only male deer have antlers which fall off every winter and are regrown every summer. Developing antlers are covered with soft skin called velvet, which is full of blood vessels
  • Deer can swim, can run up to 35-40 miles per hour, and can jump over an 8 foot high fence
  • Deer communicate with scent and body language in addition to vocalizations

Watchable Wildlife icon

What to watch for:

Size:

3 to 3.5 feet tall at the shoulder, 125- 200 pounds, although males can get up to 300 pounds.

Coloration:

Adults have reddish-brown coats in summer; grayish-brown in winter.
Fawns are reddish brown with white spots.

Where to watch:

Deer are often found on the edges of forests and in open areas by roadways, farm fields or waterways.

What to listen for:

These wary animals are often quiet, but they make more sounds than most people realize. Fawns may bleat to get the attention of other deer, and adult deer may snort or stomp a front foot when they are disturbed or frightened. During mating season, bucks sometimes make a grunting noise.

When to watch:

Early morning or early evening year-round are good times to watch for deer.

The best places to see white-tailed deer:

Albany Pine Bush Preserve
Allegany State Park
Braddock Bay Fish and Wildlife Management Area
Fire Island National Seashore
Five Rivers Environmental Education Center
Mashomack Preserve
North-South Lake
Paul Smith's Visitor Interpretive Center
Silver Lake Bog Preserve
Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve
Ridge Environmental Conservation Area