Wildthings Public Wildlife Education

Where the Deer and the Antelope play....


 This is a female Pronghorn and her fawn.

White Tail or the Virginia Deer

       When a White Tail gets alarmed its tail goes up….like a white flag.

    The White Tail Deer or the Virginia Deer as it is called in some states, can be found in every state except for five; California, Utah, Nevada, Hawaii, and Utah.  It runs from Canada to Peru, is found in New Zealand, and in many European countries such as Serbia, Finland, and the Czech Republic, and …..well you get the idea; this is one globe-trotting deer.    

    Deer have dichromatic (vision in 2 colors only), blue & yellow are their primary colors that are why hunting gear of orange & red that is highly visible to humans doesn’t alarm the deer.

    Oh and another really cool fact or FYI for you; Even though White tails can be varied in size they generally follow the Bergmann's rule: that the average size is larger further away from the Equator.  The average weight for a White Tail doe in Canada is 90-200 Lbs., the average weight of a White Tail doe in the Florida Keys is 70-110 Lbs.  And yes most mammals follow this rule.


    White Tail fawns are usually born in May or June.  For the first four weeks the babies spend most of their time laying/hiding in the brush.  After that they tag along for as far as they can on Moms circuit everyday the make it farther along before Mama has to stash them and get back to work.  So remember there are no babysitters in the wild so all kinds of wildlife mamas are hiding their kids and will be back later for them.  It takes 8-10 weeks to wean them so Moms never too far.  The babies lose their spots at the end of their 1st summer.  Males stay with Mom for 1st year (so they stay with the family until the next spring) and the females stay for 2 yrs.  Mom Deer sometimes will have several generations of kids together in a family unit until they are old enough to go off and reproduce and have a full deer life.

Age of sexual maturity depends on current white tail population & availability of food.

    Antlers grow in the spring and they lose them every fall.  Primarily only males have antlers; the females have a one in ten thousand or so chance of developing them all depends on the hormones. 



Mule Deer

     Mule Deer get their name due to their big ears that resemble Mule ears.  They also have a black tipped tail, instead of the white most other deer have, this makes them easy to identify. 

    In Colorado they are most prevalent in the foothill areas, habitat here suits them best.  They will eat a wide variety of things; woody vegetation, willows, sagebrush, an assortment of grasses, berries, herbaceous plants, and most of the flowers in your yard (ha ha!) to name a few.

    Mating season is in the fall with babies arriving in the spring, gestation of apx. 190-200 days.  Babies wean fast at 60-75 days.  Keep in mind this is in the wild, in rehab since the weaning isn’t a natural process (like with their mom) they sometimes seem to need to stay on the bottle longer

    For the fawns their predators include the Bobcat, Mountain Lion, Black Bear, and Grizzly.

    The adults are large enough they are harder to take down; their predators are Grey Wolf, Grizzly, and occasionally a large Black Bear.   

Pronghorn Antelope (not in Antelope family)

     OK….this is where we correct the record.  As the old song/saying goes “the Deer and Antelope play..” meaning across the plains of America, North America does NOT have Antelope.  Antelope live in places like Africa and India.

We have Pronghorn Deer.  Our Pronghorns like to hang out in the grasslands the best but, they also can be found in brush lands and desert.  The sad part is out of 12 different species that used to roam North America were down to one main species. 

    One study showed the contents of a Pronghorns stomachs to be toxic to domestic livestock, over 40% in cactus.


     As you can see Pronghorn Fawns look nothing like a White Tail Deer fawn.   

    Pronghorns typically are pregnant 6 weeks longer than a White Tail Deer so they are born in July and August around here.  Fawns are soo tiny, new borns are the size of a small house cat. 

    Instead of losing the whole antler every year they just lose the “sheath” that covers the antler.  They scratch, rub and carry on until the velvet cover is all removed.  Then they have a naked antler until spring and it starts growing again.

    These deer do two things that other deer usually don’t do, Pronghorns have mixed sex herds in the winter.  And then they do something that is fairly rare in North America….a “mammal migration”.  It’s common for animals to move from summer feeding grounds to winter feeding grounds but usually they are not far from each other.  Pronghorns in Idaho travel roughly 160 miles in their annual migration.  That is a big one for our country ….though nothing compared to somewhere like Africa.