Animals

Discover the 5 Largest Deer Roaming U.S. Forests

The only hoofed mammals capable of developing enormous antlers are deer. Moreover, they belong to the scientific Cervidae family. There are roughly thirty distinct species of deer. The mule, white-tailed, reindeer, elk, and moose are among them. These are hardly the biggest deer that saunter through American forests. Native to Australia, Asia, northern Africa, South America, and Asia are deer. They have also been brought by people in Australia, New Zealand, and a few other places. Although they may exist in a variety of environments, their favorites are woods, tundras, deserts, and wetlands.

These elegant animals have huge ears, short tails, and long, slender legs. They also frequently have white patches on their throats and chests in addition to their normally smooth, brown fur. Some, though, wear shaggy coats, usually in the winter. The South American pudu is the tiniest deer at around 12 inches, while the moose can grow to be over 7 feet tall. Since they are all omnivores, deer only consume vegetation like grass, bark, and twigs. They also reside in family groups, though the males occasionally go off to be by themselves.

1. Mule Deer

The big ears on mule deer give them their name. These deer have a tiny white tail with a white tip, and they are brownish-gray with white behind them. In the summer, the male mule deer grows antlers, which he sheds and loses in the spring. Moreover, a split formed by these antlers results in two branches with two or more tines each in the main branch.

Due to their acclimatization to life in the desert, mule deer are only active in the early morning and late evening when the temperature is lower. They have also evolved by consuming a variety of foods to satisfy their dietary requirements. If there is enough foliage for them to eat and hide in, they can exist anywhere in a desert. During summer’s hottest months, these astute deers will go to higher altitudes, and during winter, they will relocate to lower altitudes. But they also like to reside in woods and slopes covered with trees.

Mule deer are not now considered to be a threatened or endangered species and can be found throughout the western United States. Fortunately, property has been granted by some states to preserve the habitats that are essential to deer. These deer consume a variety of foods, such as:

Mesquite leaves and beans
Fairy duster
Grasses
Shrubs
Buck bush
Cat claw
Jojoba

One of the biggest creatures to stray through American forests is the mule deer. They are nevertheless occasionally threatened by wolves, bears, eagles, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, and humans. They live 9 to 11 years in the wild and even longer in captivity if they are able to avoid these predators. In general, female mule deer are smaller than males. A mature mule deer can reach a height of 7 feet and a weight of 330 pounds.

2. White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer are among the largest deer that wander American woodlands, weighing between 110 and 300 pounds, despite being the smallest members of the deer family in North America. In summer, these deer sport chestnut-colored coats, but throughout the winter, they turn a dismal gray tint. Because of their massive antlers, which fall off in the winter, male white-tailed deer, often known as bucks, are easily recognized during the summer and fall. The white underside of these deer’s tails, which show as they wag them, is how they got their name. They also don’t have as big of ears as mule deer.

These deer range over Bolivia and are found throughout North America, extending from southern Canada to Central America. While they occasionally reside on the outskirts of farms and cities, white-tailed deer prefer open forests. Among their habitats are:

Areas along streams and rivers
Mixed woodlands
Farms
Forests
Burned shrub fields

Depending on the flora that is available in their habitat, these deer will consume a variety of plants. They will, however, consume the buds and twigs of shrubs such as birch, aspen, poplar, sassafras, and maple in eastern woodlands. They will eat conifers in the winter if these are in short supply. A graceful animal, white-tailed deer can run up to thirty miles per hour.

The fawns of female white-tailed deer are fiercely guarded. They will, however, hide them for up to four hours at a time while they go in search of food. When these cunning fawns are waiting for their moms, they will lie flat on the ground with their necks spread, keeping them well hidden.

Typically, these creatures live alone, especially during the summer. Male deer utilize their antlers to fight other deer during mating season in order to procreate with females, rather than as weapons against predators. Then, from January to March, these antlers are shed, and the following spring, they grow back.

3. Reindeer

Reindeer, who are related to moose and elk in the deer family, are also occasionally referred to as caribou. Antlers are a feature shared by all reindeer, yet only females in the deer family develop them. Asia, Europe, and the far north of North America are home to these creatures. They live in the Arctic tundra, woods, and the treeless plains of the extreme north. Compared to other members of the deer family, reindeer have shorter legs and heavier bodies. They can weigh as much as 700 pounds. They also have thick coats that are either gray, white, or brown, and large hooves.

These deer travel great distances from their summer homes to their winter quarters, where they reside in herds. They are reported to consume grasses, plants, and a type of plant material called reindeer moss. In fall, reindeer reproduce, and the males will frequently engage in combat to claim the female. The females typically give birth to a single child. Finally, a lot of people will maintain herds of reindeer to pull sleds across the snow, like the Sami people of northern Europe. These deer are also used for their meat, milk, and skins.

4. Elk

The largest subspecies of red deer, or wapiti, is the elk. These creatures can be found in North America and the high highlands of Central Asia. They belong to the deer family as well. The word “elk” is derived from an old Germanic word that means “hart” or “stag.” But elk is the most popular name for a moose in Europe.

Elk numbers in North America are robust. These animals can be found in a variety of environments, from northern Mexico to the Yukon in northwest Canada. They can also be found from Pennsylvania to Vancouver Island. Elk prefer the plains, rainforests, deciduous woodlands, and marshy lowlands. The moose are the only animals larger than these deer, and adult elk can weigh up to 840 pounds on average. Size can, however, differ amongst populations and from south to north. The largest bulls have a maximum weight of 1,100 pounds. In contrast, southern California bulls often weigh about 240 pounds. Every year, male elk shed their antlers, which grow back.

Elk eat just plants. They often hunt in the early morning and late evening, consuming grasses, tiny plants, and the new growth on trees and bushes. They also band together in big groups to defend themselves against wolves, bears, and coyotes, among other predators.

Elk males call with a high pitched sound called a bugle. A female will occasionally bugle. Elk females give birth to a single white-spotted calf in early summer after a gestation period of 255 days.

5. Moose

As the largest member of the deer family, moose can be seen roaming the woodlands of the United States. Their enormous heads and antlers are well-known features. In Europe, they are also referred to as elk. These creatures can be found in Alaska, Canada, and the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. But they live in the forests of Asia and Europe’s north. Moose prefer to live close to rivers, lakes, and ponds.

A fully developed male of these long-legged creatures can weigh up to 1,400 pounds. They also have thick, dark brown fur that has a reddish-black appearance. Antlers that can measure more than five feet broad are only grown by male moose. Antlers are shed by a man and grow back every year. The velvet covering these antlers has a protective layer that gradually rubs off as they grow back. In addition, moorland plants such as pondweed and water lilies, as well as bark, twigs, herbs, and grasses, are all part of the diverse diet of these adept swimmers. Finally, these creatures lack vision, but they have excellent hearing.

Overview Table

Largest Deer by Weight Weight
Mule Deer 330 pounds
White-Tailed Deer 300 pounds
Reindeer 700 pounds
Elk 1,100 pounds
Moose 1,400 pounds