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Types of Deer in North America

July 05, 2022 3 min read

Types of Deer in North America

The hoofed ruminant mammals of the family Cervidae deer have two main groups 

  • Cervinae
  • Capreolinae

Pc: Unsplash

The first group Cervinae includes red deer, follow deer, elk, and muntjac. The Capreolinae group includes white-tailed deer, reindeer, moose and roe deer.

Deer are widely distributed to all continents except Antarctica and Australia. The Cervidae family inhabits the tundra, tropical forests, swamps and deserts. Deer is one of the biggest game sport mammals, which provides humans with a large amount of meat and hides. 

Types of Deer in North America:

North America has no shortage of native deer. It is one of the most charismatic animals. People think that a total of 58 subspecies live in North America; however, technically, there are only 6 North American deer.

The North American deer are,

  • Mule Deer
  • Whitetail deer
  • Caribou
  • Brocket Deer
  • Moose
  • Elk

Mule Deer:

Odocoileus hemionus mule or blacktail deer has a distinctive feature of the ears which resembles a mule. They are present in the Rocky Mountains, West Coast of North America, Western Great Plains, and the United States southwest.

Pc: Pixabay

They feed on acorns, yew, dogwood, aspen, mushrooms, willow, grapes, ferns, mistletoe, apples and berries. They resemble white-tailed deer; however, their coat is stockier. You can check our blog Best Mule Deer Hunting Locations, to know more about mule deer hunting states.

White-tail deer:

Odocoileus virginianus is one of the most common large game animals in North America, with a weight of an average of 200 pounds and a height of 3 feet. Whitetail deer are also known as Virginia Deer, and the home state of this deer is Texas. The deer gets its name due to the distinctive feature of the white underside of the tail, which they raise in danger.

Pc: Unsplash

They feed on clover, alfalfa, acorns, apples, berries, mushrooms and tree buds. Our blogs on Whitetail Deer and Best Whitetail Deer Hunting States will provide more interesting information. 


Rangifer tarandus, a caribou in North America, is also called reindeer. Both male and female caribou have antlers. Caribou is native to the northern parts of North America. They inhabit the tundra and the boreal woodlands depending upon the season and feed on tree lichens, shrubs, willows and grasses. To know more facts about this creature, please read our blog on Reindeer

Pc: Pixabay

Brocket Deer:

Mazama gouazoubira is called brocket deer due to its small antlers, which resemble spikes. The word brocket has French roots and is used for the stag, which is in its second year, and its branched antlers are undergrowth. 

Pc: Pexels

Brocket deer is nocturnal and mostly active at night. This small deer seems shy and live alone or in matted groups. Mating usually occurs in the autumn.


Alces alces, moose, is the heaviest member of the deer family, and the word moose is derived from the Algonquian language. Moose have palm-shaped antlers. Moose are solitary animals and present in boreal and temperate forests and subarctic climates. 

Pc: Unsplash

Moose like to eat both aquatic and terrestrial vegetation. They are amazing swimmers. To know more about their distribution and facts, please read our blog on Moose Hunting


Cerbus canadensis, is a moose in European continents, while In North America, moose and elk are two different members of the deer family.

Elk make large noises during mating; one can hear these sounds up to 5 miles. It is one of the members of the deer family which grows mane on its neck.

Pc: Unsplash

They prefer the woody and grassy areas in the west of North America. Our blog Elk - The largest Terrestrial Mammal will give the basic information about elk, while Elk hunting provides information about elk hunting methods and locations. 

Non-Native Deer in North America:

Apart from the native North American deer, there are some non-native types of deer in Texas, Florida, California, Maryland and many other states. The non-native deer in North America are,

  • Sambar Deer
  • Fallow Deer
  • Sika Deer
  • Axis Deer

To enjoy deer hunting more comfortably, you can check out our amazing deer apparel collection at Lelex Shop.

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