These deer would eventually come to be known as White-tailed Deer, for their signature white tail-flagging, displayed as a warning to other members of the herd when fleeing danger. They were a mainstay of the Native American diet and would enable the very survival of the new world’s European colonists.
The White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus, was a welcome sight of sustenance for both the Massachusetts Bay and Virginia colonists. In fact, the deer could be found throughout the Atlantic seaboard and far inland, inhabiting diverse habitats from woodlands to palmetto groves. Like the North American Bison and Passenger Pigeon, it was the deer’s ubiquitous nature that led to its unregulated hunting. Reaching lengths of 7 feet and weights exceeding 200 pounds, the tan colored creature was a large and curious target.