Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Watchable Wildlife: White-tailed Deer

Quick Facts

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 regrow every summer. Developing antlers are covered with a soft skin called velvet, which is full of blood vessels.
  • Deer can swim, run up to 35-40 miles per hour, and 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.

Appearance

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. 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

Return to the Watchable Wildlife main page