51 Top Facts About White-tailed Deer

Last updated on August 11th, 2023

When Food is Scarce

38. However, as it happens, this is no surprise to people well-acquainted with the gastronomic habits of deer. All species of deer, indeed, prefer a plant-based diet. However, when vegetation becomes scarce in many habitats in winter, a white-tail deer eats whatever is available, including birds, fish, dead rabbits, and more.


39. Those who know deer to be strict herbivores will be shocked to hear that back in 2017, a whitetail was found eating decomposing human flesh at a Texas body farm!

The Purpose and Use of Antlers

40. No white-tailed deer facts list can be complete without some information about those spectacular antlers that male members of the species sport. To begin with, deer species with antlers never use them for fighting against other animals. Instead, antlers actually play a useful role for the males in attracting their potential mates and also for sparring against other males when a stag looks to assert its dominance over others.

White Tailed Deer Wildlife Animals in Nature
White-tailed deer facts. Photo © Daveallenphoto

Antlers – Size and Why They Shed These?

41. The size of the antlers (as well as the body size of a stag) is directly related to the annual mating success of a male individual. For instance, males with high mating and breeding success grow larger antlers than their weaker counterparts.

42. Made of bone and keratin, antlers are shed every year by male white-tailed deer at the end of the mating season.

43. A drop in testosterone reportedly causes shedding once the mating season comes to an end.

Their Active Hours

44. White-tailed deer are commonly described as nocturnal animals. This is not altogether right, though. Like most deer species, they are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active during twilight hours. This explains why these animals are most frequently spotted during dawn and dusk.

Their Sense of Smell

45. Whitetails have an incredibly strong sense of smell. The olfactory receptors of an adult white-tailed deer number over 300 million. To put that into perspective, humans have about 5 million olfactory receptors on average.

And Eyesight!

46. White-tailed deer possess excellent eyesight as well. However, contrary to humans (and other diurnal animals) who possess a cone-mediated vision, a whitetail has a rod-mediated vision. This means whitetails have poor eyesight during the daytime, but their nocturnal vision is extremely strong.

White-tailed Deer Fawn
White-tailed deer facts. Photo © Steve Byland

47. This is also why these creatures are often found grazing during the night, which has given rise to the idea that they are nocturnal animals. However, as we mentioned, this is not scientifically correct since the sleeping patterns of nocturnal and crepuscular animals differ significantly.


48. Despite their huge population, whitetails, for the most part, are solitary creatures. It is not uncommon to spot small herds of 5-6 (or even less) white-tailed deer. Usually, these are either a doe and her fawns (baby deer) or little groups of young adult male deer or “bucks.”

49. The species of whitetail deer (“Odocoileus Virginianus”) is thought to have evolved from “Odocoileus Brachydontus,” a closely related species that existed approx. 3.8 to 3.5 million years ago!

50. White-tailed fawns shed their spotted fur around 3 to 4 months, though the shedding period often differs significantly among different subspecies of white-tailed deer.

51. Unlike whitetails, there are deer species, such as sika deer, chital deer, or fallow deer, that never lose their white spots.

The Bottom Line

That’s all about the best white-tailed deer facts to help you learn more about these fuzzy and lovable creatures. Hopefully, you learned something new to share with your friends.