Black-tailed Deer Facts

Blacktails are probably the least studied of the three species of North American deer. However, there is still quite a bit that has been learned about this "Ghost of the Pacific". Here are a few black-tailed deer facts we think you'll find fascinating.

Black-Tailed Deer BuckTaxonomy - Current taxonomy classifies the blacktail as a subspecies of the mule deer. However, recent DNA evidence has shown that mule deer are the result of interbreeding between whitetails and blacktails.

Subspecies - There are two subspecies of blacktail: the Columbia black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus), which ranges from California to British Columbia, and the Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis), which ranges from northern British Columbia to Southeast Alaska.

Size - The average black-tailed deer is smaller than both the average mule deer and the average white-tailed deer. Sitka blacktails are smaller than Columbia blacktails.

Antlers - Black-tailed deer antlers are typically forked evenly like mule deer antlers, but blacktails usually grow a maximum of only three tines per side.

Diet - Black-tailed deer can eat a wide variety of plants, and they can even eat Poison Oak without experiencing any of the allergic reactions we humans experience.

Sounds - Biologists have identified at least twelve separate vocalizations used by black-tailed deer to communicate with each other.

Predators - Besides humans, predators of black-tailed deer include coyotes, cougars, black and grizzly bears, wolves, and golden eagles.

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