Cover of Field Museum of Natural History Zoology

Field Museum of Natural History Zoology

Zoology Leaflets 1 14

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Whilst the greatest effort has been made to ensure the quality of this text, due to the historical nature of this content, in some rare cases there may be minor issues with legibility. The common deer of eastern North America was one of the first of our large mammals to be brought to the attention of early settlers. Although originally abundant in Massachusetts and other parts of New England, it seems to have been reported especially from Virginia by early French writers who called it Cerf de Virginie. It was then given the scientific name Cervus virginianus and so came to be known generally as the Virginia Deer. In later years this name proved to be misleading, for the same species of deer, or varieties differing slightly in size and color, was found to be present not only in Virginia but over most of the eastern and central United States. Another name for it, therefore, has gradually come into use, the name White-tailed Deer. This is frequently shortened to Whitetail, which is a very appropriate name, for the deer's tail is entirely white on the under side and when held erect, as the animal dashes through the woods, is very conspicuous. The upper side of the tail, however, is not white but reddish brown or gray the same as the back and sides of the body.<br><br>The White-tailed Deer withstands the advance of civilization much better than most of our larger mammals and is still common over much of its original range. In Pennsylvania, Virginia, and in parts of New York and New England, where elk, bison, bears, couguars and wolves have completely disappeared, the Whitetail still flourishes.

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