American White Tail Deer
The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer, is a medium-sized deer native to North America, Central America, Ecuador, and South America as far south as Peru and Bolivia. It has also been introduced to New Zealand, all the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico, and some countries in Europe, such as the Czech Republic, Finland, Romania, Serbia, Germany, and France. In the Americas, it is the most widely distributed wild ungulate.
In North America, the species is widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains as well as in southwestern Arizona and most of Mexico, aside from Lower California. It is mostly replaced by the black-tailed or mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) from that point west except for in mixed deciduous riparian corridors, river valley bottomlands, and lower foothills of the northern Rocky Mountain region from South Dakota west to eastern Washington and eastern Oregon and north to northeastern British Columbia and southern Yukon, including in the Montana valley and foothill grasslands.
Texas is home to the most whitetailed deer of any U.S. state or Canadian province, with an estimated population of over four million.
Notably high populations of white-tailed deer occur in the Edwards Plateau of Central Texas. Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maryland, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana also boast high deer densities.
The conversion of land adjacent to the Canadian Rockies into agriculture use and partial clear-cutting of coniferous trees (resulting in widespread deciduous vegetation) has been favorable to the white-tailed deer and has pushed its distribution to as far north as Yukon. Populations of deer around the Great Lakes have also expanded their range northwards, due to conversion of land to agricultural uses favoring more deciduous vegetation, and local caribou and moose populations declining. The westernmost population of the species, known as the Columbian white-tailed deer, once was widespread in the mixed forests along the Willamette and Cowlitz River valleys of western Oregon and southwestern Washington, but today its numbers have been considerably reduced, and it is classified as near-threatened. This population is separated from other white-tailed deer populations.