Utah Field Guide: Whitetail deer

The smallest members of the North American deer family, the whitetail deer are found from southern Canada to South America but are rarely seen here in Utah.

Whitetail deer are the most numerous of the large North American mammals. Estimates of the population is between 8 to 15 million whitetails on this continent.

Unlike the mule deer which might have a home of several square miles. A Whitetail deer’s home range is usually less the a square mile.

The whitetail deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside of its tail, which it shows as a signal of alarm by raising the tail during escape.

Whitetails are herbivores, leisurely grazing on most available plant foods. Occasionally venturing out in the daylight hours, white-tailed deer are primarily nocturnal, browsing mainly at dawn and dusk.

In the wild, white-tails, particularly the young, are preyed upon by bobcats, mountain lions, and coyotes. They use speed and agility to outrun predators, sprinting up to 30 miles per hour and leaping as high as 10 feet and as far as 30 feet in a single bound.

For more information on the whitetail or any other critter found in or around Utah, check out our Utah Field Guide on our Outdoors page at KSLTV.com

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