Deer are even-toed ungulates of the family Cervidae. Adult animals may weigh 50 to 400 pounds (23 to 180 kg) depending on species and location. Their general form is well-known. At birth, fawns are rust-colored with white spots. Their spotted coats are shed in 3 to 4 months and are replaced by a grayish-brown fall and winter coat. The summer coat of adult animals is reddish-brown.
Underparts of the tail, belly, chin, and throat are white during all seasons. Antlers grow on males (bucks) from April to August. Antler development is nourished by a layer of soft, vascularized velvet on the antlers. The dried velvet layer is rubbed off and the antlers polished during the fall rut (breeding season). Antler size depends on nutrition, age, and genetics.
Mule deer antlers are forked while the tines of a white-tailed deer’s antlers arise from a central beam. Both mule deer and white-tails have deciduous antlers that are shed in mid-winter. The rump and tail area and facial features also differ slightly between the species. Both mule and white-tailed deer lack upper incisors.