U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

August 2003


The deer boom: discussions on population growth and range expansion of the white-tailed deer. (2003. Pages 15-20 in G. Hisey and K. Hisey, editors. Bowhunting records of North American whitetail deer. Pope and Young Club, Chatfield, MN, USA)


The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the most common and sought-after North American big game animal. More whitetails are harvested each fall than all other deer species (elk, mule deer, moose, and caribou) combined. Whitetails are popular for two main reasons, 1) their broad distribution, and 2) their abundance. The vast majority of bowhunters live in whitetail range and whitetails have experienced a population boom over the last century. Both in terms of numbers and densities, whitetails are far more abundant now than at any time during our lifetime. That is the keypoint, "during our lifetime." If the range of white-tailed deer is examined on the extremely short time scale of what we have observed since the inception of modern wildlife management and modern bowhunting, about 1930 to present, whitetails do appear to have expanded their range.