Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



Published in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT PLAINS, ed. David Wishart (University of Nebraska Press, 2004), p. 642. Copyright 2004 University of Nebraska Press. Used by permission.


The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is one of two members of the deer family (Cervidae) commonly found in the Great Plains. When alarmed, white-tailed deer hold their tails erect, baring their white underside and white rump. Bucks (males) begin growing bonelike antlers early each summer and by early fall the antlers stop growing and harden. The antlers have a main beam with tines erupting from the top and are used for fighting and establishing rank in the social hierarchy.