| A deer is a ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. A number of broadly similar animals, from related families within the order Artiodactyla, are often also called deer.|
Depending on their species, male deer are called stags, harts, bucks or bulls, and females are called hinds, does or cows. Young deer are called fawns or calfs. Hart is an expression for a stag, particularly a Red Deer stag past its fifth year.
Deer are widely distributed, and hunted, with indigenous representatives in all continents except Antarctica and Australia. Deer live in a variety of biomes ranging from tundra to the tropical rainforest. While often associated with forests, many deer are ecotone species that live in transitional areas between forests and thickets (for cover) and prairie and savanna (open space).
The majority of large deer species inhabit temperate mixed deciduous forest, mountain mixed coniferous forest, tropical seasonal/dry forest, and savanna habitats around the world. Clearing open areas within forests to some extent may actually benefit deer populations by exposing the understory and allowing the types of grasses, weeds, and herbs to grow that deer like to eat. However, adequate forest or brush cover must still be provided for populations to grow and thrive.
Small species such as the brocket deer and pudus of Central and South America, and the muntjacs of Asia do occupy dense forests and are less often seen in open spaces. There are also several species of deer that are highly specialized and live almost exclusively in mountains, grasslands, swamps and "wet" savannas, riparian corridors surrounded by deserts. Some deer have a circumpolar distribution in both North America and Eurasia. Examples include the reindeer (caribou) that live in Arctic tundra and taiga (boreal forests) and moose that inhabit taiga and adjacent areas.
The highest concentration of large deer species in temperate North America lies in the Canadian Rocky Mountain and Columbia Mountain Regions between Alberta and British Columbia where all five North American deer species (White-tailed Deer, Mule deer, Caribou, Elk, and Moose) can be found. This is a region that boasts mountain slopes with moist coniferous forests and alpine meadows, and lowlands with a mosaic of cropland and deciduous parklands within vicinity of lakes and rivers.
The Caribou live at higher altitudes in the subalpine meadows and alpine tundra areas.
The White-tailed Deer have recently expanded their range within the foothills of the Canadian Rockies due to conversion of land to cropland and the clearing of coniferous forests allowing more deciduous vegetation to grow.
Subfamily Cervinae (True Deer, Old World Deer):
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