3 Types Of Deer Found In Missouri

If you’re a nature enthusiast and you love spotting deer, Missouri is the perfect state for you. Known for its diverse wildlife, Missouri is home to three species of deer: white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk. Each of these species has unique characteristics and habits that make them fascinating to observe.

Key Takeaways

  • Missouri is home to three species of deer: white-tailed deer, mule deer, and elk.
  • White-tailed deer are the most common deer species in Missouri and are found in almost every part of the state.
  • Mule deer are found in the western part of the state and are known for their large ears and impressive antlers.
  • Elk were reintroduced to Missouri in the 2010s and can be found in the Ozark Mountains region.

White-tailed Deer

If you’re a fan of Bambi, you’ll be happy to hear that the most common type of deer found in Missouri is the white-tailed deer. These graceful creatures are easily recognizable due to their white tails that are raised when they sense danger.

White-tailed deer are usually brownish-gray in color and have a body length of around 6 feet and a weight of 100-300 pounds. They have a lifespan of around 6 years in the wild and are herbivores, feeding mainly on the leaves, twigs, and fruits of various plants.

White-tailed deer have a breeding season that usually starts in late October and lasts through early January. During this time, male deer, also known as bucks, will fight for the attention of female deer, also known as does, using their antlers.

Hunting season for white-tailed deer in Missouri usually begins in early November and lasts through mid-January. It’s important to follow all hunting regulations and safety guidelines to help maintain the population of these beautiful creatures.

Mule Deer

Let’s explore the fascinating world of mule deer, commonly spotted in the Missouri countryside.

Mule deer, also known as black-tailed deer, are named after their large, mule-like ears. They are primarily found in western North America, but can also be spotted in parts of Missouri.

Mule deer are herbivorous and feed on a variety of plants, including sagebrush, grasses, and forbs. They are known for their impressive antlers, which grow throughout the spring and summer, and are shed in the winter.

Unlike white-tailed deer, mule deer have bifurcated antlers, meaning they have two points that branch out from the main beam.

Mule deer are also known for their impressive migration patterns. They can travel up to 200 miles in search of food and mating opportunities.

Their migration patterns are influenced by factors such as temperature, snowfall, and vegetation availability.


When it comes to elk, there are three key points to consider: their physical characteristics, habitat and distribution, and behavior and diet.

Physically, elk are known for their large size and distinctive antlers. They can be found in a variety of habitats, from forests to grasslands, and are distributed throughout North America.

Elk are herbivores, primarily feeding on grasses, leaves, and bark, and they’re known for their social behavior, which includes forming large herds during certain times of the year.

Physical Characteristics

You can easily recognize Missouri deer by their muscular bodies, sleek coats, and graceful movements, which are like dancers on a stage. These physical characteristics are adaptations that enable them to survive in their environment.

For example, their muscular bodies help them run fast and jump high, which is necessary for escaping from predators. Their sleek coats are also important for regulating their body temperature and keeping them warm during the winter months.

Additionally, the reproductive cycle of Missouri deer is an important factor in their physical characteristics.

During the breeding season, male deer grow antlers that they use to attract females and compete with other males. Once the mating season is over, the males shed their antlers and begin growing them again for the next year.

Female deer, on the other hand, give birth to fawns in the spring, after a gestation period of about six months. These fawns have spots on their coats that help them blend in with their surroundings and avoid detection by predators.

Overall, the physical characteristics of Missouri deer are fascinating and play an important role in their survival and reproduction.

Habitat and Distribution

The breathtaking beauty of Missouri’s natural habitats is the perfect home for these graceful creatures, as they roam freely in search of food and shelter.

Missouri is known for its diverse landscape, which includes forests, grasslands, and wetlands, providing habitat for various species of deer.

The white-tailed deer is the most common and abundant species found in Missouri, but there are also mule deer, elk, and even caribou that can be found in certain areas. Geographical range is an important factor in the distribution and population dynamics of deer in Missouri.

White-tailed deer are found throughout the state, while mule deer are primarily located in the western part of the state. Elk were reintroduced to Missouri in 2011 and can be found in the Ozark Mountains. Caribou were once native to the state, but are now extinct.

Understanding the habitat and distribution of these deer species is important for conservation efforts and managing population levels to ensure their survival in Missouri’s natural habitats.

Behavior and Diet

Witnessing the awe-inspiring sight of a graceful deer foraging on vegetation in its natural habitat can evoke a sense of wonder and appreciation for the animal’s behavior and diet.

Deer are known for their feeding patterns, which typically involve browsing on leaves, twigs, fruits, and nuts. They are also known to graze on grasses and other low-lying vegetation.

The specific diet of a deer can vary depending on the season and availability of food sources.

When it comes to social interactions, deer are generally social animals that form herds. These herds can range in size from just a few individuals to dozens of deer.

During mating season, male deer, or bucks, will engage in aggressive behavior towards one another to establish dominance and win the right to mate with a female, or doe.

Overall, the behavior and diet of deer are fascinating to observe and study, making them a beloved and iconic species in Missouri.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

Other Articles