Columbian Black-tailed Deer

Odocoileus hemionus ssp. Columbianus

Columbian Black-tailed Deer


Columbian black-tailed deer are a type of mule deer with large, mule-like ears, a white rump and an all-black tail. They can grow to be over one metre tall at the shoulder, and can weigh from 30 to 210 kilograms.

Range & Habitat

Black-tailed deer live from the alpine to temperate rainforest and are often found in clearings caused from forest fires or logging. Columbian black-tailed deer are confined to the islands of the Pacific northwest and the western slopes of the Coast mountain range. In B.C., this animal is found in the Coast and Mountains ecoprovince.

Diet & Behaviour

They eat grass, leaves, twigs, and shrubs. In the winter they retreat to the forest, where they browse on understory vegetation, particularly lichens. The males grow a set of antlers each year which they use for fighting, getting food from trees and self-defence.

Lifecycle & Threats

Fawns are normally born as twins. Mother deer will hide her fawns as she browses nearby. Deer populations are being threatened by logging of older coastal forests; deer needs these forests for winter range because they have a lot of food on the ground and little snow. Logging road systems also provide easy access to deer by wolves, cougars and humans.

Traditional Uses by Indigenous Peoples

Visit this online interactive learning tool, Seeing Through Watchers Eyes, to learn the SENĆOŦEN name and other stories about this being! We recommend a desktop computer or laptop for ideal viewing. 

  • Simply open the link here: https://sierraclub.bc.ca/watcherseyes/ 
  • Scroll down to the Prezi 
  • Click “present” 
  • And move your cursor to point 127 along the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen 


COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

More Information


Photo: Hobson