Whitetail deer are the most popular hunted animal when it comes to big game in North America. More generally, deer hunting is the most popular type of hunting with over 10.9 million participants. 

When it comes to deer hunting, especially those new to the sport, you might ask "Well, how big is a deer really?" This is a common question as stories from hunters across the U.S. tend to give different answers. 

We're going to dig into some of the details of weight and size for a common whitetail deer and explain why these amazing animals vary so much. Additionally, for added context, we've put together a simple comparison picture of how a whitetail deer stacks up to other members of the deer family.

Enjoy, and leave a comment below if you have any additional questions or thoughts!

Fun Fact: There are 50 species within the deer family (Cervidae).


According to a variety of websites on the internet, a whitetail deer usually ranges from 90 to 300 lbs. Of course, does (females) are the smaller of the pair. Additionally, their average weight comes in at around 150 lbs.

It's also important to note that a deer's weight will vary by season. Deer will routinely eat more in the spring/summer months to build up fat storage for those colder periods of the year when food is more scarce. Finally, it's also common for bucks (males) to lose up to a quarter of their weight during the rut or breeding period.

In case you're curious, fawns are born at a weight of around 6 to 8 lbs. and will weigh 70 to 80 lbs. by their first winter.


Whitetail deer height ranges from 21 to 47 inches at the shoulder with an overall average height of 36 inches. As you'd expect, males are larger than the females - usually by about 20% or so. 

Fun Fact: Coues deer males are only about 30 inches tall at the shoulder.


Throughout the U.S. whitetail deer lengths range as well. The total length of a deer can go from 37 to 86 inches. Their extreme length and spring-like legs allow them to jump up to 9 ft. high and 30 ft. forward. 

Why Do Deer Sizes Vary So Much?

It all comes down to Bermann's Rule! This states that there's a correlation in geographic location and body size - meaning that species further away from the equator will usually be larger than those closer to it. 

To go into more detail, according to a heat conservation hypothesis, a large body size helps animals retain heat in the cold. This energy conserving advantage increases their ability to survive in those cold weather months.

As a result, you'll routinely see larger size deer (and larger antler sizes) in Northern states when compared to those further South. 

Where Do Deer Rank As Far As Size?

Deer are the 7th largest species within the deer family. Check out the list below to see what's larger!

1. Moose - Max weight: 1,800 lbs.

2. Elk - Max weight: 1,300 lbs.

3. Sambar - Max weight: 1,200 lbs.

4. Red Deer - Max weight: 1,100 lbs.

5. Reindeer / Caribou - Max weight: 700 lbs.

6. Barasingha - Max weight: 600 lbs.

7. Whitetail Deer - Max weight: 500 lbs.


Deer Compared To Elk, Moose, Caribou

For a blog about How Long To Hang A Deer click here!