The many varieties of deer range in size from less than 100 pounds for some White Tail species to upwards of 200 pounds for some male Mule Deer. Their coloring is most predictable with nearly all varieties displaying a mottled reddish, brown fur color in summer and a grey to bluish grey coloring in the winter.
The most striking physical feature of any deer is their antlers. These antlers, found only on Males, are made of bone and found on all but two (2) varieties of the animal. Antlers are covered with a layer of skin, called velvet, which eventually dies and is rubbed off by the animal during mating season. This rubbing may be one of your landscape issues as the deer will use trees and shrubs to help scrape the velvet from the antlers. Antlers themselves begin growing in the spring, are used during mating season for fighting and scent marking, and then actually fall off only to begin growing again the following winter. There are some species of deer that do not have antlers, and in these species you will find enlarged upper teeth. These include Musk Deer and Chinese River Deer species.
Antlers vary in size and structure between the species as well. Overall, Mule deer have thicker antlers than White Tail deer. The points or tines of the White Tail deer antlers derive from the two (2) main beams. Mule deer have what are known as bifurcated antlers. Where the two (2) main beams branch into two (2) smaller beams, these then branch into two (2) even smaller beams.
The points on the antlers increase in number through about the sixth year of life for the bucks.