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White-tailed Deer and Fawn, By Wil Hershberger, Hedgesville, West Virginia, USA

White-tailed Deer and Fawn

Odocoileus virginianus

Learn more about Odocoileus virginianus from the Encyclopedia of Life

Encyclopedia of Life

Shenandoah National Park,
Virginia, USA
By Wil Hershberger
Hedgesville, West Virginia, USA


White-tailed deer have adapted to a wide range of habitats from southern Canada down through the US into northern South America. They are commonly found in wooded areas near open areas and fields. Adults are 3 to 3.5 feet tall at shoulder height and weigh an average of 100 to 150 pounds. Fawns are born in late spring. They lose their white dorsal spots and are fully mature by the following winter, but normally stay close to their mother until the next spring. Young males grow antlers with an average of 6 points on each side; once they mature, bucks can have 7 or more points per side.

“Fortunately, I was in the right place with a long lens to document this rare behavior of a velvet-horned buck briefly nuzzling a fawn. The interaction lasted only a few seconds. Typically, interactions between bucks and fawns are more aggressive.” —WH


Canon EOS 5D Mark II; 500mm ƒ/4 IS lens; 1/200 sec at ƒ/9; ISO 800; EV Canon 580EX II flash; flash extension bracket; Canon off-shoe cord II; Gitzo 1480 tripod; Wimberley II Gimbal head.