What is a Female Deer Called?

Note: If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we may receive a commission but at no extra cost to you

There are many different names for female deer, depending on the region in which they live. The size of the species plays an important role too. Some of the more common names include doe and cow. In North America, female white-tail deer are called does.

Deer Species in North America

There are different deer species in North America. The five North American types of deer are,

  • White-Tail Deer
  • Mule Deer
  • Caribou
  • Elk
  • Moose

read.. where do deer go during the day?

1. White-tail deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) 

a doe

Female White-Tailed Deer characteristics:

  • Females weigh between ninety and two hundred pounds
  • It doesn’t grow antlers
  • Tan or brown in the summer, grayish-brown in the winter 
  • Female white-tails are called a doe
  • They are excellent runners – speeds up to 30 miles an hour are possible
  • Has one to three fawns once a year 
  • lives in wooden areas
  • can be found in most of the United States (except for the southwest) and parts of southern Canada
  • Live expectancy is 6 to 14 years in the wild (without us hunting them)

2. Mule deer (Odocoileus Hemionus) 

female mule deer

Female Mule Deer characteristics:

  • Females weigh around 100 pounds
  • It doesn’t grow antlers
  • Their name comes from their mule-like ears
  • Mostly brown-gray coats
  • Females are called a doe
  • Has one to three fawns once a year 
  • Are adapted to arid and rocky environments
  • Found mainly west of the Missouri River, especially in the Rocky Mountain region
  • Live expectancy is 9 to 11 years in the wild (without us hunting them)

3. Caribou (Rangifer Tarandus) 

caribou cow

Female Caribou Characteristics

  • Females weigh between 50 – 300 pounds 
  • Female Caribou grow antlers!
  • White neck and belly, and otherwise brown shaggy fur 
  • Can run at speeds up to 50 miles an hour 
  • Female caribous are called cows 
  • Native to Northern America (Alaska, Canada south through British Columbia. Northern Idaho, and northwestern Montana)
  • Live expectancy is 8 to 15 years in the wild (without us hunting them)

4. Elk (Cervus Canadensis) 

elk cow

Female Elk characteristics

5. Moose (Alces Alces) 

moose cow

Female Moose characteristics

Moose is by far the largest deer species. 

  • Female Moose weigh between 450 and >1000 pounds 
  • Female Moose are called cows 
  • Moose cows don’t grow antlers
  • Native to “In North America, the moose range includes almost all of Canada (excluding the arctic and Vancouver Island), most of Alaska, northern New England and upstate New York, the upper Rocky Mountains, northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and Isle Royale in Lake Superior.” (source
  • Live expectancy on average is eight years for a cow and seven years for a bull (source


“The family Cervidae, commonly referred to as “the deer family,” consists of 23 genera containing 47 species, and includes three subfamilies: Capriolinae (brocket deer, Caribou, deer, moose, and relatives), Cervinae elk, muntjacs, and tufted deer), and Hydropotinae, which contains only one extant species, Chinese water deer. However, classification of cervids has been controversial, and a single well-supported phylogenetic and taxonomic history has yet to be established. Cervids range in mass from 20 lbs to 1800 lbs, and all but one species, Chinese water deer, have antlers”

Source: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Cervidae/

Why Some Deer Are Called Cows

Depending on the location and size of the species, names for female deer may vary. In North America, female elk, Caribou, and moose are called cows, and males are called bulls.


Q: Do Female Deer Species Grow Antlers? 

A: Most female deer species don’t grow antlers. But there are two exceptions, female Caribou and Reindeer do grow antlers. 

Q: How Often per Year do Female Deer Give Birth?

A: Female deer give birth once a year, and the gestation period is about ten months. The fawns are born in early spring. They weigh between two to four pounds at birth. Most species have one to three young at a time.

 Q: What Is the Lifespan of a Female Deer?

A: The lifespan of a female deer in the wild is around eight to thirteen years. But if they live in captivity, they can live up to twenty years. 

Q: What Do You Call A Female Deer?

A: The term for a female deer depends on the species and location. In North America, a female elk, Caribou, or moose is called a cow. But these animals may be called different in other parts of the world.

Q: How Many Different Types of Deer Are There in Northern America?

A: There are five different deer species in North America. These include the white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, caribou, and moose.

Q: What are the three most common female deer names?

A: The three most common female deer names are doe, hind, and cow.

Q: What do you call a group of female deer?

A: A group of female deer is called a herd.

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

Leave a Comment