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Best Locations List
friends of the dolphin
Leonard Lee Rue
Oklahoma Wildlife
Smithsonian White-tailed deer profile
Smithsonian mule deer profile
Selkirk Conservation Alliance
British Deer Society
wildlife reading
North American White-tailed Deer Distribuion and Subspecies
Urban Deer Culled in Montana Capital
Before You Know It, They’ll Be on the Subway
Don't Blame the Deer
Sir Paul McCartney deer sanctuary targeted by huntsmen, activists claim
Ontario Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan





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Nara, Japan, Treats its Deer Like Sacred Cows

The sika deer in Nara, Japan, have it made: they are treated like the sacred cows of India, allowed to wander everywhere and eat pretty much whatever they want. James Dorsey writes in the LA Times that the deer have learned to bow to visitors. Vendors and vending machines sell "deer courtesy crackers" (鹿煎餅 Shika-senbei)  and outdoor restaurants provide diners with the biscuits so the deer will leave them alone. Read on

Nara Deer Accost Tourist, by petitshoo

Antlering: Hunters and Wildlife Watchers Both Love Collecting Antlers

You can congratulate me now: I just received an antlering permit from Utah after passing the 2010 Antler Gathering Ethics Course. I only got 95%, but they let me redo the question I missed. As gathering antlers shed in the winter by moose, elk and deer gets more popular among both hunters and wildife watchers, states are regulating the hobby so we don't stress out the ungulates when they're practically starving. It's gotten so bad, even libertarian Wyoming has rules this year. Read on

Dillie the Deer Maligned as Dangerous

Since Dillie the deer has gotten a lot of press, her human mom, vet Dr. Melanie Butera, has gotten a lot of grief.   The panic runs the gamut from worrying Dillie is plotting murder to fretting the GPS collar might suffocate her.

Animal April Fool's

The Detroit Free Press had the boldest and funniest animal-themed April Fool's joke with a story about a plan to corral Michigan's 1.7 million deer and allow canned hunts in an effort to prevent bovine tuberculosis. Read on
Reindeer herds worldwide decline -- BBC







Best Places To See Deer

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Out West
Swall Meadow, CA
3,000 mule deer migrate through
Seneca, NY, white deer herd
About 300 white deer roam an abandoned military base
Gaspésie National Park
southernmost caribou herd in the east
south where to see animals in Florida
Florida Keys
Home to the tiny, endangered Key Deer
Pike County
Famously high population of large white-tailed deer
Out West
Selkirk Mountains

Last caribou herd in the lower 48

Edwards Plateau and Garner State Park
High deer concentration, wild Fallow Deer herd, other exotic deer
Lapland Reindeer
See wild populations or help reindeer farmers
Carlsbad Caverns
400,000 bats
Buckleberry Farm
Deer sanctuary with early morning "deer safaris"




Deer are considered a huge conservation success story. Hunting pushed their numbers down to about 500,000 in the early 1900s, prompting Teddy Roosevelt and other hunters to worry they would disappear. They started widlife management policies--both wise and short-sighted--which are the backbone of today's system. They banned commercial hunting and regulated sport hunting. They also stepped up the eradication of predators like wolf, bear and coyote. Finally they made it illegal to hunt female deer. These policies -- along with a change in landscape and the decline in hunting's popularity--was an exploding deer population to about 20 million today, according to Cornell University.

Now people roll their eyes when they think of killing off competing elk and predators like bear and wolf to promote deer. Sport hunters kill about 1 million mule deer and 2 million white-tailed deer annually, according to DesertUSA.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) live nearly everywhere from the Yukon to Central America except a pocket in the southwest. There are 38 subspecies, but that owes more to geography and biologists' prestige in discovering a subspecies than in dramatic differences. Two subspecies are endangered. The Key Deer (Odocoileus virginianus clavium) are tiny--one 2 to 3 feet at the shoulder. The Columbian White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucus) has grizzled coloring and slightly different antlers and lives in Washington and Oregon.

Mule deer Odocoileus hemionus live out west and have ridiculously big ears. One subspecies is the black-tailed deer. They're bouncy and don't mind the desert. People call them "muleys."

Fallow Deer (Dama dama) are native to Europe and Asia, but they have handsome almost moose-like antlers, so they were imported to deer ranches in North America and now some roam free. Texas reports that 14,163 live in the state, mostly on ranches, but they do roam wild on the Edwards Plateau.


The large, furry deer species Rangifer tarandus is called caribou in North America and reindeer everywhere else. Both male and female caribou grow huge antlers. They are divided into woodland and tundra subspecies. The animals used to live much further south in great numbers, but they have been hard-hit by human development because they take so long to reproduce. They used to live across the northern ranges of Europe and the United States, but now are pushed back to Canada and Scandanavia.


Don't feed the deer, especially if you are by the road. It gives the deer the wrong idea that food comes from cars. If you find a fawn in the forest, leave it. Its mother is out eating and knows where it is.


What's the difference between a mule and white-tailed deer?
White-tailed deer have antlers that jut forward; smaller ears; longer tail that is brown on top and white underneath. In Texas they interbreed, according to The Mammals of Texas.


Do deer spread Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks. But calling them deer ticks is really just an unfortunate naming accident for deer. Deer ticks live on rodents, too.



Click on the emblem for each region to jump to places to see the animal there
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Seneca White Deer Herd - NY
A herd of about 300 white white-tailed deer run around inside this army depot. When the army took over the 10,000 acre site in WWII, they put up a huge 12-foot tall fence--some say to protect a nuclear weapon. The fence sealed in a deer herd, which a decade later spawned two fawns with leucism, a recessive condition that makes them white. A smitten general banned troops from shooting white deer.  The army left, but the 24-mile fence stayed.
Now Seneca White Deer Inc. wants to turn it into a nature preserve to protect the biggest white deer herd anywhere. But others have proposed developing it or even turning it into a gas plant or canned hunt area.

Pike County, IL

Just a few decades ago white-tailed deer were so rare that it was considered lucky to see one. Now they're everywhere, considered a plant-eating, car-hitting nuisance by many. Deer hunters say the biggest animals can be seen in Pike County, IL, (west of Springfield) and zone 5 of Iowa (near Ottumwa). The insurance industry agrees about Pike, saying drivers are five times as likely to hit a deer there.

Swall Meadows Mule Deer
A herd of about 3,000 mule deer migrate through the small town of Swall Meadows each year. They winter and mate in Round Valley (northern Inyo County) then head back to the alpine meadows of the Central Sierra to give birth and forage.
near Bishop, CA
Piceance Basin Elk and Deer - CO
Deer and elk come down from the surrounding mountains to winter in Piceance Basin.
Extensive oil drilling may threaten the deer and elk, which has hunters upset. They've gotten the federal government, oil and hunting interests to spend $6 - 13 million over the next decade to study the impact on deer hunting.


mule deer

Tensleep Preservie - WY
The Nature Consverancy's Tensleep Preserve has elk, mule deer and pronghorn antelope and weasels, especially in the winter. 172 bird species visit the area that used to be the Girl Scouts' biggest camp. Open May-Oct. Has mountain lions and spotted bat, but they're almost impossible to see.101 Rome Hill Rd. Tensleep, WY (307) 366-2671

Colville National Forest - BC, ID, WA

The woodland caribou is the most endangered mammal in the lower 48. One tiny herd that straddles British Columbia, Washington State and Idaho survives. The animals winter in the cedar forests of Colville National Forest. The Selkirk Conservation Alliance has been fighting to limit snowmobile disturbance in the critical habitat like it is in Canada. Caribou used to roam all the northern states, from New England to Wisconsin, but they have been hurt by global warming, development, over-hunting, logging and now snowmobiling--which makes caribou spend extra energy when they are already stressed. Although hard to see, rangers recommend the Salmo-Priest Wilderness (which is right on the BC-ID-WA border). There are plans to transplant caribou from British Columbia. (509) 684-7000

Down South





Land Between the Lakes Elk and Fallow Deer - KY
A piece of Land Between the Lakes became a 170,000 acre National Recreation Area in 1963. They've reintroduced elk and bison and now have 150 fallow deer, the largest herd in the country. Native to Europe and Asia, the fallow deer was introduced in 1918.
In early August Land Between the Lakes has a hummingbird festival.

The Elk and Bison Prairie is near where The Trace (Rt. 453) crosses 68/80.
(270) 924-2000 see the map »
Alaska -- See other wildlife in Alaska

Nome Caribou

The Bering  Straits Native Corporation (BSNC) offers tours into the mountains 20 miles north of Nome, where caribou either go out with them in snow cat or they can drop you off in the wilderness where musk ox, caribou, moose, bears live. The nearby Bearing Land Bridge National Preserve also has the same creatures.

Florida - See other animals in Florida
National Key Deer Refuge
The white-tailed deer is all over but the Key Deer, one of many subspecies, is endangered. These deer are much smaller (2 or 3 feet tall) than regular white tails and swim among the Florida Keys. Biologists think they took a land bridge to the Florida Keys in the last Ice Age. The population was down to 50 before the Key Deer Refuge started in 1957. It peaked at about 400 in the 70s, then fell to about 300,  because of development, car crashes and feral dogs, the NWF says.You can see them at the Sanctuary, which was started in 1957, though GORP recommends the dead end of Key Deer Blvd. The deer have been declining since the 70s because of development, car crashes and feral dogs, the NWF says.
28950 Watson Blvd., Big Pine Key, FL (305) 872-2239
Texas -- See other wildlife in Texas
Edwards Plateau - High Deer Concentration
Edwards Plateau in south-central Texas is reputed to have some of the highest concentrations of white-tailed deer in the country. (Although the country's biggest deer expert Leonard Lee Rue points to this being old data.) Within the plateau, Garner State Park is known for high deer populations. This area also has a free-roaming population of fallow deer, which were imported from Europe. Texas also has populations of feral sitka deer, axis deer, blackbuck antelope and nilgai antelope. The 36,756 nigalis are mostly confined to ranches in Kenedy and Willacy Counties. In 1930 one ranch released their population so these twirly antlered animals still roam.
234 RR 1050, Concan TX (830) 232-6132

Gaspésie National Park

Gaspésie National Park, on the rugged part of Quebec south of the St. Lawrence, has the southernmost caribou herd in the east. (418) 763-9492. The group Conservation Caribou Gaspesie has this map of where they live. Researcher David Smith found that the population has fallen by 90% in the last 50 years to to 143 in 2003. They eat lichen, which disappears with clear-cutting, Smith found.


Mount Revelstoke National Park

Mount Revelstoke National Park--about 250 miles west of Calgary--has dwindling caribou in the winter. A 2002 census found 174 mountain caribou, down from 362 caribou in 1994. British Columbia has other herds, including at Wells Gray Provincial Park, but they're also declining. Purcells, Barkerville, Narrow Lake and Hart Range herds are holding steady. A rare lizard lives on south-facing slopes of the mountain.

301B 3rd Street West, Revelstoke, BC, Canada (250) 837-7500 


Nanuvit Caribou Herd

A herd of about 250,000 caribou live in the Canadian province of Nanavut. You can tour near Lake Beverly to see the herd in the summer, along with wolves. About 18,500 are hunted each year from the Beverly and Qaminurjuaq herds, mainly for sustenance.




Nara, Japan

The city of Nara, near Osaka, has turned its population of sika deer into a tourist attraction. The deer roam everywhere, eat anything and have learned to bow to visitors, the LA Times reports. Vendors and vending machines sell "deer courtesy crackers" (鹿煎餅 Shika-senbei) to feed the deer and outdoor restaurants give diners biscuits to pay the deer not to molest them. The deer literally were considered a sacred gift from the gods and people were put to death for killing them. Now they are officially a national treasure. About 1200 roam the city park. They have an annual Shika Tsuno Kiri festival to trim the deer's horns.






Bucklebury Farm Park
Bucklebury Farm Park has a "deer safari" program that lets you have a civilized meal along with your early morning or dusk trek to see their Red Deer (Cervus elaphus), Sika Deer (Cervus nippon), Chital or Axis deer (Axis axis) and Fallow Deer (Dama dama). 
Bonus animals: wild boar, farm animals
Bucklebury, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 6RR, United Kingdom





Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve
The RSPB's reserve at Leighton Moss is where a huge colony of bitterns nest. Red deer are seen in fall. You might also see harriers hunting over the wetland.
01524 701601 Carnforth, Lancashire




Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary
The Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary lets the fallow deer roam free, but conveniently feeds them all summer near a viewing platform.
You can thank King William I for protecting the land that is now the New Forest National Park in 1079. The park has 5 deer species: the native red deer and smaller roe deer; then 3 imports: fallow deer, sika deer and the muntjac deer. The park culls 800 deer annually.
Minstead, Brockenhurst, Hampshire, UK




Rambouillet Animal Park
Just a half hour's train ride from Paris, l'Espace animalier (Animal Park) de Rambouillet lets you see wild boar (sanglier), red deer (cerfs), eagles (aigles) and other native animals in close to natural conditions.
Paris moms take their kids here to learn about nature. There are regularly scheduled falconry shows and a canopy walk (l'Odyssée Verte).
Route du Coin du Bois, 78120 Sonchamp, France
01 34 83 05 00





Saarbrucken Wildpark
The Saarbrucken Wildpark is a fun mix of native wild animals like wild boar, fallow deer, red deer and wisent, along with some domestic species like goats. The wisent (Bison bonsasus a smaller, endangered European version of the bison) are breeding and there are young ones.
Die Wildpark in Saarbrucken started in 1929 and was recently updated. It's free, you can feed the animals or just go for a long walk in the pleasant woods.
Germans tend to think of wildparks as for kids, but Americans will be fascinated.
Stuhlsatzenhausweg 49, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany


wild horse


Wildpark Schorfheide
Wildpark Schorfheide is one of the few that have moose, which are known as European elk or elch. They also have Przewalski’s Horse, Koniks, heck cattle (auloch) and red and fallow deer and wild boar.
 € 3.50, Prenzlauer Straße 16, 16244 Schorfheide, Germany





Wildpark Zurich
Zurich decided in 2008 to support two public wildparks. Langenberg has farm and native animals, including 3 kinds of deer, wild boar, wild horses. Sihlwald has beaver and otter.
Albisstrasse 4, 8135 Langnau am Albis, Switzerland



Wildpark Roggenhausen
Wildpark Roggenhausen is run by the local community who want to enjoy the local woods and animals. They have red, fallow and axis deer, pine martens, moulfon, marmots and wild boar.
Roggenhausenweg, 5000 Aarau, Switzerland, 062 822 34 05



Wild Forest Reindeer in Finland
Wild Forest Reindeer used to live everywhere in Finland, but were wiped out by hunting. A population survived in Russia, which has crossed back over.
The three populations are in Kuhmo, the Kainuu and near Lieksa.
Even Finns have a hard time telling them apart from the regular reindeer, but they're bigger and dark, says Outdoors Finland.
Finnish White-Tailed Deer
The Varsinais-Suomi region of Finland has the highest concentration of white-tailed deer. A Finn who lived in Minnesota sent over 7 deer in 1934 as a gift to the Laukko Estate (the Finns had wiped out their Forest Reindeer population). The deer escaped a pen--to the delight of hunters--and now about 15,000 roam the country.
Lapland Reindeer Farm - Calving or Feeding
In Lapland above the Arctic Circle you can visit a reindeer farm. The Reindeerfarm Petri Mattus will let you see the life of herders, feed the reindeer and even see them calving in the spring.
Kittiläntie 3070 B, Kortamo-oja, 99800 INARI
+358 (0)400 193 950 Email Ivalo, Inari, Finland


Italian Unicorn/ Roe Deer

Center for Natural Science

The Centro di Scienze Naturali (Center for Natural Science) outside Prato, Italy has a roe deer nicknamed Unicorn. Unicorn has a single stalk antler in the middle of his head.
Via di Galceti, 74, 59100 Prato PO, Italy