Classification: Animalia – Chordata – Mammalia – Artiodactyla – Cervidae – Capreolinae – Odocoileus – Virginianus
The whitetail deer is a common sight along the roads and in the valleys of the Smoky Mountains. While they might not be as hard to find as the black bear or as large and imposing as the elk, the deer are still fun to see and are in fact so used to people that they will be glad to pose for pictures as they go about their lives.
The deer in the Smokies are the same kind of deer that you might see anywhere in the southeast or across the country. They are herd animals and the young tend to stay in the herds with the does until they have been alive for a couple of years. The bucks, after they have left the herd become solitary creatures and though you will see them, you will see them on the edges of the forest most of the time.
These herbivores eat the soft grasses graze throughout the year. The temperate climate in the Smokies also give them plenty of food in the winter months. During the mating season you will see spikes and bucks sparring and rattling their antlers on trees as they go through their own mating dance.
Where to see Whitetail Deer in the Smokies:
Cades Cove – If you are wanting to see large numbers of deer, there is no other place for you to go but Cades Cove. Herds of deer populate the fields. In the spring you will see fauns at play around their mothers and as the deer mature and the seasons change you will notice the deer getting bigger as the put on weight for the leaner winter months. If you are wanting to get a great picture, slide out of your car, stay low to the ground and walk slowly toward the deer. If you approach slowly enough you can get close enough to get some amazing pictures of the deer in Cades Cove.