IHEA logo Guide to Wildlife Identification

What You Should Know | Finding Wildlife | Game or Non-Game | Techniques | Signs | Distribution | Warning for Hunters | Final Quiz | Over 100 Wildlife Fact Sheets


Black-tailed Deer

Size:

  • Black-tailed deer are smaller than either mule deer or white-tailed deer.
  • Mature Columbia black-tailed bucks (males) weigh from 105 to 200 lb. (48 to 90 kg) and does (females) weigh between 90 to 140 lb. (40 to 65 kg).
  • Sitka blacktails are even smaller.

Distribution in North America:

Found in the Pacific Northwest, especially in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

bt deer in northwest forest
Tracks
front: 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"
hind: 2 1/2" x 3 1/2"

Habitat:

  1. Old-growth forests are important for coastal blacktails, as the habitat provides shelter and forage, and also stops buildups of deep, heavy snow.
  2. In the southern parts of their range, old growth is less important due to abundant open areas and milder climate. Blacktails are browsers in winter and early spring and then mix in grasses and a wide variety of herbs, as well as browse, in summer and fall.
  3. Winter ranges are often shared with Roosevelt elk.
Notes:
  1. Smallest of the three native deer species (mule, black-tailed, white-tailed).
  2. Sitka blacktail is smaller than Columbia blacktail.
  3. Antlers in forked pairs, like mule deer.
  4. Both subspecies have smaller ears than mule deer.
  5. Almost no rump patch with wide, black-surfaced tail.
  6. Light face and muzzle but forehead not dark.
  7. When startled, will run with high, stiff-legged bounce, like mule deer

Tell Me More icon
More information on this species

Be sure to check local regulations for hunting or trapping information on this species.

home next back