Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (2022)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (1)Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (2)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (3) Personal Notes on Black-tailed Deer Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (4)

There is a high population of deer here where I live on the northern coast of California. I see them feeding along the busy highway, in pastures with the cattle, in orchards, and everywhere on the property I caretake. I've seen them out feeding in the rain and even lying down to rest in the open when its raining. They seem oblivious to it. Whenever I arrive home after dark, I see the deer in the field near my place. Their eyes reflect my flashlight beam and show up as two bright dots in the darkness. It's always fun to see the does with their new fawns. Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (5)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (6)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (7)

Young doe feeding in an apple orchard - Cuneo Creek Campground, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

This fawn was seen along with two others following its mother along Bull Creek in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California. It is unusual for a doe to have three fawns. The usual number is one or two.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (8)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (9)

A small fawn with spots on its coat. The doe and this fawn's twin were on the other side of the fence. The little fawn was trying to figure out how to get to the other side.

An older fawn that was grazing with a doe and a yearling in some tall grass.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (10)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (11)

The same fawn when it looked directly at the camera!
This older fawn was attempting to nurse. The doe tolerated this behavior for a minute and then just simply walked away. The fawn got the idea and went back to food more appropriate for its age.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (12)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (13)

Deer feeding signs. These acorns were cracked open by deer. The animals take the acorn between their teeth and grind it open. They manipulate the opened acorn with the tongue to get the nut out. They spit out the shells and eat the nut.

Why are they called blacktailed deer? Well, have a look at the tail of this one. :)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (14)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (15)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (16)

A doe and her fawn feeding on blackberry leaves.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (17)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (18)

Even though they are commonly called "spike horn," deer do not have horns. They have antlers. The difference is that antlers fall off each year and horns to not. The ground here was torn up by a buck in the rut. The mating season for deer is in the fall, when the bucks have their antlers. You will find plants torn up in similar fashion.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (19)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (20)

Clustered form of deer scat. The moisture content and the type of food can affect the appearance of the scats produced. This doe stood on her hind legs to reach the best parts of the plant she was eating. Blackberries!

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (21)

Typical deer scats are pellets.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (22)

Deer scat in pellet form.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (23)

Some deer scats found on a gravel river bar. The river had been near flood stage earlier in the week. These scats were deposited after the water receded.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (24)
Deer scats in dry grass. These are summer scats and very compact. Less moisture in the diet makes the pellets hold their form well.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (25)

A deer track in dried mud.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (26)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (27)

A handsome four-point blacktailed deer buck. This buck was following around a small doe in the evening. The doe would run a little way, then stop to try to feed. The buck was not far behind and kept on chasing her. The fall is rutting season for blacktailed deer.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (28)

A close-up showing deer scat. You can clearly see the small dimple on one end of the scats. The other end is often somewhat pointed.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (29)

Doe and fawn peering over a rise.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (30)

This buck is rub-urinating. The bucks do this during the rutting season. They rub their hock glands together, then urinate on them. This makes a scent marker that lets other bucks know whose territory they are in. Bucks will also thrash vegetation with their antlers and rub on trees.
A doe urinating. In contrast to the buck above, who urinated directly on the glands on his hind legs, the doe is not marking scent.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (31)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (32)

These two deer walked across the Eel River. However, their first act upon entering the water was to both urinate in the river. I think this is a way of hiding scent. Deer, being prey, must be careful to hide their presence from predators. While predators will mark frequently with scent in their territory, it would likely not serve prey species well to do so. They must hide from predators. Urinating in the river probably is a good way to hide scent. This was the first time I had seen this done, however, I have observed other deer doing this in other locations since then.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (33) Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (34)
During rutting season, bucks rub their antlers on trees and saplings, causing damage.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (35) Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (36)
These willows were along a river edge. The buck seemed to have rubbed on all the bigger willows.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (37) Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (38)

A small Douglas fir sapling with a small scar, and a tan oak tree with fresh scars, and old scars, from bucks rubbing their antlers.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (39) Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (40)
A small sapling with a rub mark. This deer track shows a lot of action. The front hooves splayed out and left a long mark when the animal slipped in the mud. The two dewclaw marks show how the slip was stopped.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (41)

A buck with velvet on his antlers. This is early in the season.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (42) Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (43)

These photos show the same buck. The left was taken November 11, 2006. The right was taken on December 21, 2006. They are of the same buck. On the left, he is in the prime of the rutting season and has lots of energy. At right, he is at the end of the rutting season and is exhausted. Bucks spend a lot of time following the does around and expend a lot of energy. They don't eat as much during this time. At the end of the season, they are very tired. The buck on the right was just laying in the grass, trying to sleep, and getting rained on. He was gone the next morning, but he allowed me to approach quite closely for the photo.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (44)
Two fuzzy fawns in early fall.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (45)

There are four fawns around this doe. They are not all hers though. What happened was the doe who was the mother of two of these fawns got locked on the wrong side of a fence. Her fawns were stuck on the other side, trying to get to their mother so they could nurse. They were hungry! So, when the second doe and her two fawns showed up, the other fawns immediately ran to her and started bleating to be fed. She sniffed at them and would not feed them. Then she chased them off. She is a really skinny doe and likely didn't have any extra milk to give the other fawns.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (46)

These acorns shells were all that was left after deer fed on the nuts. The deer take the acorn and use their teeth to crack the shell, then use the tongue to maneuver the nut out. The shell is spit out.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (47)

Deer scats in river gravel. These scats show the typical form with a point on one end.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (48)

Four Columbian blacktailed deer in tall grass.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (49)

A buck with velvet antlers eating an apple in a campground. This campground is located in an old apple orchard and many animals feed on the bounty at the end of summer, when the fruit falls from the trees.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (50)

Deer scats compared to those of other herbivores often found in the same environment.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (51)

A beautiful track in mud. This was on a dirt road that had been recently graded, so the soil was nice and flat.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (52)
A beautiful deer track in fine dust.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (53)

This is the typical overlapping trail of a deer. The hind track is on top of the front track. Deer have sharp hooves, which they can use to defend themselves. My cat was once chased by a mother deer who perceived him as a threat to her fawn.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (54)

This hind track had nearly perfect register on top of the front track. Many deer tracks overlap. You have to look closely to see it sometimes.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (55)
Another pair of overlapping deer tracks. Notice that only the edges of the hooves left imprints in this muddy surface.
Deer track showing splay of the toes caused by a running gait. The direction of travel is to the right in this photo.

Hind foot.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (56)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (57)

Another deer track with toes splayed.

This is a front track. You can tell by looking at the position of the dewclaws. The dewclaws on the front feet are angled away from the foot. The dewclaws on the hind feet are set at a more parallel angle.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (58)
Deer track showing the dewclaws. These are often mistaken for buck tracks. The reason for this is that bucks frequently leave tracks like this during the rutting season. When they follow the does, they sometimes lower their head and walk like that. This leaves tracks that show the dewclaws because the feet are supporting the weight of the head and antlers at a lower than normal angle. So, there is some truth to the tale that these are buck tracks, but the rule of thumb is that they are not ALL buck tracks. Examine the trail carefully for other identifying features before making a determination.

This is the hind track. You can tell by looking at the orientation of the dewclaws. The dewclaws on the hind feet are oriented fairly parallel with the hooves and the direction of travel. Those on the front feet are angled outward.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (59)

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (60)

A doe and her twin fawns cross a dirt road. Does can have either one or two fawns at a time. Three fawns is rare, but does occasionally happen.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (61)

A doe and her fawn emerge from the brush and cross a dirt road.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (62)
A small fawn entering the brush.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (63)

A young fawn crossing a meadow. This one had another fawn with it, as well as two does. The does walked ahead and behind the two fawns, who stayed in the middle. This method of travel must be a way for the adult deer to protect their young from predators. This fawn is about two months old.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (64)
A fawn licks the head of a doe.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (65)
Family of blacktailed deer.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (66)

Family of blacktailed deer. Notice how skinny the doe is. This is common for late summer. When acorns fall in the autumn, they fatten up by eating them.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (67)
Blacktailed deer scats in pellet form. Scat shape and consistency can vary depending on diet.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (68)

This doe was feeding on acorns in early fall. The late summer diet of berries changes as the crops change. Few berries are available this time of year, so the deer switch to the newest crop, which happens to be acorns. These nuts are very rich in nutrients and help the deer gain back some of the weight they lose when they raise fawns all summer.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (69)

Doe under an oak tree. During fall, the deer tend to spend a lot of time foraging under the trees where they find nutritious acorns. This one spent most of the morning and afternoon under this same tree. Why expend the energy to go to another tree when there are plenty of acorns right there? Animals need all the energy they can get to make it through the lean winter months.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (70)

This doe was curious about hikers on the trail below her. She peeked around the tree and gave them a look, then went back to feeding. In parks, many animals become accustomed to the presence of people.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (71)
A young fawn with fading spots was feeding along the river.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (72)

This fawn was resting at the edge of a meadow. Deer like to find places to rest where they have a view of their surroundings. This helps them stay aware of predators.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (73)

Often, this is the only view you will get of a deer as it bounds away from you. Sometimes they can be skittish and run off at the approach of people.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (74)

The teeth of a deer are large and relatively flat on top. This helps them grind up their food. Some foods, such as acorns, can be very tough and these are the perfect type of teeth needed to break them apart.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (75)

Side view of a deer skull found along the river. Deer lack top incisor teeth, but have excellent grinding teeth on the sides.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (76)

The mortality rate of young deer can be high, depending on the number of predators in the area. In this case, a yearling was killed by coyotes. Coyotes tend to drag parts of the skeleton all over the place, rather than feeding in one location. Several days after this photo was taken, the remains disappeared, likely moved off into the brush so the bones could be opened for the marrow. Animals in nature do not waste anything, especially a food source.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (77)

Eye shine from a deer at night. Using a flash on the camera, or a flashlight, will allow you to see the eyes shining back at you.

Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (78)
The eyes of a deer shining in the light of a camera flash.
Animal Tracks - Columbian Black-tailed Deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) (79)
Blacktailed deer doe in front of spring flowers - lupine.

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Last Updated: 10/15/2022

Views: 6157

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Birthday: 1993-03-26

Address: 917 Hyun Views, Rogahnmouth, KY 91013-8827

Phone: +5938540192553

Job: Administration Developer

Hobby: Embroidery, Horseback riding, Juggling, Urban exploration, Skiing, Cycling, Handball

Introduction: My name is Fr. Dewey Fisher, I am a powerful, open, faithful, combative, spotless, faithful, fair person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.