Interesting Deer & Elk Facts
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 calves.
Once considered separate species because of the great differences between them, American Elk (or Wapiti) and Red Deer from the Old World can produce fertile offspring, and are now considered one species. (The European Elk is a different species and is known as moose in North America.) The hybrids are about 30% more efficient in producing antler by comparing velvet to body weight.
All male deer have antlers that are shed and re-grown each year from a structure called a pedicle. Sometimes a female will have a small stub. The only female deer with antlers are Caribou and their cousins, the Reindeer. Antlers grow as highly vascular spongy tissue covered in a skin called velvet. Before the beginning of a species' mating season, the antlers calcify under the velvet and become hard. The velvet is then shed leaving hard bone antlers. After the mating season, the pedicle and the antler base are separated by a layer of tissue, and the antler falls off. Each species has a general antler growth pattern, e.g. White-tailed Deer tend to grow antlers out and forward with points arising from the top of the main beam of the antler. Mule deer, a species within the same genus as White-tailed deer, have similar antler growth except that the second point is usually forked.
For Wapiti and Red Deer, a stag having 14 points is an "imperial", and a stag having 12 points is a "royal". If the antlers deviate from the pattern of the species, the deer is considered a non-typical deer.