Black-tailed Deer

Black-tailed Deer are found in the coastal mountain regions from southern California to British Columbia. They are a subspecies of the Mule Deer but are much smaller, weighing between 90 and 200 pounds. They are called Black-tailed Deer because the bottom two-thirds of the tail is black and the underside is whitish.

Most Important Things to Know About Deer:

  • If you find a fawn that’s alone and quiet, leave it alone. Remember: mother knows best! She will return before dark. Deer are born without a scent. Mothers often leave fawns for 5 hours or more to keep them safe while she forages for food.
  • If you find an injured fawn/deer or a fawn that’s walking around alone and calling loudly, contact the Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley immediately.
  • Never provide food. This can exacerbate any problems and can also attract other animals to your property.
  • Deer panic easily and have sharp hooved feet. Never attempt to get too close or touch a deer of any age regardless of how injured/tame it may seem.
  • If you find a deer in your yard, leave all gates open and let the deer leave on its own. Attempting to herd it out of your yard can cause the deer to panic and severely injure or kill itself.
  • Deer can sometimes wander into residential areas and even in and out of streets. Do not attempt to corner/trap the deer or herd them into any area. Because they panic very easily, the resulting erratic behavior can lead to serious injury for the animal itself or people.

Deer eat all kinds of grasses and new growth on trees and shrubs including poison oak and ivy! They are more active at dusk and dawn but also feed during the night. Bucks lose their antlers in March. The antlers re-grow in the summer. Fallen deer antlers are difficult to find because they have excellent nutritional value for squirrels, opossums, and other wild travelers of the forest, who eat them.

Deer prefer grassy fields near forest edges. They use their large rotating ears to listen for predators. The male is called a buck and the female is a doe. Does have their first young at 2 years of age beginning in early May. Newborn fawns weigh from 3 to 6 pounds and are only about 12 inches long. Babies have no scent at birth, which keeps predators away. The mothers leave the fawns alone, quiet and still, sometimes for hours, while they feed.

Too much pruning?
A deer fence at least 8 feet tall is the best guard for rose bushes and gardens. Visit your local nursery for deer-resistant shrubs and plants. A barking dog is also a good deterrent.

Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley
3027 Penitencia Creek Road
San Jose, CA 95132
1-408-929-9453 (929-WILD)

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm, 7 days a week
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funded in part by support from the City of San Jose, the City of Milpitas, the City of Sunnyvale and Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority