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  Category   Land Mammals of BC: Black-tailed Deer
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Black-tailed Deer
Odocoileus hemionus


The Black-tailed Deer may be told from the White-tailed Deer, which occurs in the southeastern corner of the province, by the tail, which is all black, or brown with a black tip. There is also a pronounced white rump patch.

Bucks have antlers which fork once, and each fork divides again. The antlers of White-tailed bucks have four or five points rising from a single horizontal branch.

There are three races of Black-tailed Deer in British Columbia. The largest is the Mule Deer (O.h. hemionus), which is found in most of the province. Depending on condition, bucks may weigh from 80 to 180 kilograms. On the north coast and on Haida Gwaii, the former Queen Charlotte Islands, the smaller Sitka Deer (O. h. sitkensis) is found. On the south coast and on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, the Columbian Black-tailed Deer (O. h. columbianus) occurs. It, too, is a small race. The deer found on some small islands may be very small.

Mating occurs mostly in mid-November, and one to three spotted fawns are born in May or June. Mortality can be high with winter food shortages, and predation by cougars. On southern Vancouver Island, with low predation and mild winters, Black-tailed Deer are very common. They are quite tolerant of humans, and can be serious garden pests. Highway collisions occur regularly, and can be a real danger.
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