Species / International Ovis

Sitka Blacktail Deer

Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis


Sitka blacktail deer are native to the coastal region of southeastern Alaska and northwestern British Columbia, from the Haines-Skagway area south to Bella Bella and Bella Coola, and also on the offshore islands, including the Queen Charlotte Islands, where it was introduced. In Alaska, has been introduced in the Yakutat area, on islands in Prince William Sound, and on Afognak and Kodiak islands in the Gulf of Alaska, all of which are similar to its native habitat.


Mule deer live in small family groups of does, yearlings and fawns. Bucks are usually solitary, or sometimes in very small bachelor groups. A group is likely to be spread out rather than in close association. The rut begins in October and lasts two months. Dominance fights between males are less competitive than in other deer species, being largely bluff. Fawns (usually two, sometimes three) are born May-June. Life expectancy is usually 8-12 years in the wild. This deer feeds mainly in early morning and evening, usually resting at midday and night. It is primarily a browser, but will graze on occasion. Mule deer are migratory in mountainous areas, summering as high as 8,000 feet, and retreating to lower elevations in winter to avoid deep snows. Migration distances may be 50 miles or more. Senses of smell and hearing are acute, with vision less so. They are able to run 35 mph for short distances, but unable to maintain speed for long. They bound away in a series of high leaps when disturbed and can cover 25 feet horizontally in a single leap. The mule deer is a very strong swimmer. Its main predators are coyotes, but also cougars.

Super Ten®/Super Slam®: For the Super Ten®/Super Slam®, the blacktails of Vancouver Island are considered as Sitka blacktail deer. Information found here contains excerpts from the on-line and printed version of Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book of Trophy Animals and is used by permission. Visit www.scirecordbook.org.


Sitka blacktail deer vary very little in size from their Columbia blacktail cousins. A mature buck will generally weigh on average 150 pounds. The Sitka variety usually has two white throat or neck patches, and their antlers are generally smaller. The brow tines are sometimes missing, and they usually have a total of four points per side (including brow tines) more often than the more normal five per side for the Columbia blacktail.

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