White Tailed Deer

Although deer are normally associated with forested areas, deer will utilize many different types of habitat as long as the area provides adequate cover.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) were reported to be quite abundant when settlers arrived in Iowa in the early 1800's. Over hunting reduced the population to almost zero until a hunting ban was placed.

The deer can be recognized by the characteristic white underside to its tail and a red-brown coat in the spring which turns to grey-brown in the winter.

Although most often thought of as forest animals depending on relatively small openings and edges, white-tailed deer can equally adapt themselves to life in more open prairie, savanna woodlands, and sage communities.

White-tailed deer eat large amounts of food, commonly eating legumes and foraging on other plants, including shoots, leaves, cacti (in deserts), prairie forbs and grasses. They also eat acorns, fruit, and corn. Their multi-chambered stomachs allow them to eat some foods humans cannot, such as mushrooms (even those that are toxic to humans), and poison ivy.


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