The Michigan DNR says that White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are the smallest of the three members of the deer family found in Michigan – the others being elk and moose.
“White-tailed” refers to the distinctive white tail that when raised is a flag and provides a flash of white, signaling other deer when there is danger. Deer are graceful and swift runners (up to 35 miles per hour), but do not generally run long distances, preferring to seek the nearest shelter whenever possible. Male deer are called “bucks”, females “does” and baby deer “fawns”. These deer tend to live in female-led family groups of up to 25 deer and may live to ten years or more.
Their size ranges between 125 to 225 pounds, although really healthy bucks may be even larger. Their coat is a reddish-brown color in the summer, but becomes much more gray in the winter. This change helps to hide them as the colors of their environment change. Their tubular or hollow hairs provide insulation, allowing them to lie on snow without melting it, as well as creating enough buoyancy for swimming.