What Is A Male Deer Called?

by Derrick | Last Updated: September 17, 2021

Some animals have different names depending on the context. The term you use may vary in function of its sex, scientific name, etc. In this article, you will learn what term most people use to refer to a male deer.

A male deer is called a “buck,” a term that originated in North America and is shared among other species. If you are talking about the red deer or Japanese deer, the word to refer to the male would be “stag.”

There are some other animals from the same order as deer that are called “bucks.” Now let’s see where these terms come from and why people change the names of the animals based on sex.

Understanding The Term Buck

Buck is not a term we use exclusively to talk about deer. In the United States, it is common to hear people using the term “buck.” But, they are not talking about the animal. The word is commonly used to refer to the dollar bill or the currency itself.

The Relationship Between Dollars And Deer

There is a relationship between today’s dollars and deer. Back at the beginning of the 18th century, deerskin was commonly used for trading goods. Buck meant a quality standard, and not all skins were accepted as equals. 

For instance, low-quality deerskin or skin from other animals was not considered equal. You could still trade them for goods, but the number of skins people needed was higher.

The Value Of Deerskin

Deerskin was highly valuable for the indigenous people of North America. People used them to create jackets to protect themselves from the weather.

Additionally, buckskin was helpful for hunting. It served as a disguise and camouflage for mountain hunters.

Other Terms Used To Refer To Deer

There are other widespread terms people use that are related to deer.

  1. When you talk about deer as food or edible parts, you will refer to them as venison.
  2. Fawn is the term you will use to refer to young deer found during the winter season.
  3. A female deer is a doe.
  4. Elk is the common name of the Wapiti, another member of the Chordata phylum.
  5. Hart is a synonym of the word “Stag,” which refers to male red deer.

What You Should Know About Deer Hunting

These terms are used primarily for hunting; now, let’s see more details about deer hunting.

Hunting Bucks And Not Does

A hunter must distinguish between females and males. If a hunter kills a buck, he’s taking one deer. But, if the hunter killed a doe, he’s also ending many more lives because females can procreate more deer.

Some people understand that you can hunt does, as long as you see it has produced offspring.

How To Tell Does And Bucks Apart

As it happens with many species, there are some physical differences between females and male deer. We brought you a list of the visible attributes that distinguish one another.

  • Does have longer necks and snouts than bucks.
  • Bucks have antlers.
  • Bucks leave a urine trail because they don’t stop to urinate.
  • Does leave urine spots because they stop and squat to do so.
  • Does do not lead herds; you will usually find them in the back along with the fawns. On the other hand, bucks will be ahead of the pack.

Deer Hunting In The United States

Deer hunting is a state-regulated practice in the United States. The hunting season goes as follows:

  1. August until January in South Carolina
  2. September through February in Florida, Kentucky, and Texas

However, the state can impose limitations on the hunting season. They can call a “bow-only” area, prohibit certain firearms, or determine which types of deer you can hunt.

The state can designate organizations to control and ensure these policies are followed accordingly. 

Differences Between Deer Species

There are two main species of deer in the United States: the mule deer and the white-tailed deer.


The Mule deer are commonly found in the Mississippi River area, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Missouri, and Minnesota. In contrast, the white-tailed deer is found in Washington, California, Oregon, Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and South Dakota.


At a glance, you will notice the main difference is the tail. The mule deer has a black tip on its tail, while the white-tailed doesn’t have it.

The ears vary in size in these two species. The mule deer has longer ears than the white-tailed deer.

Another relevant difference is the color of their faces. You will notice the mule buck has white or gray fur above its snout, and the white-tailed buck has hair that matches its body color.

The fur color is also different on their bellies. The mule deer has dark fur, while the white-tailed has white or gray hair.


There are not many differences between their behavior. They both share similar predators, humans being atop this list.

Their mating season starts in the fall. Bucks will try to prove dominance over the rest and mate with as many females as possible.


There is also no difference between their diets. Both species are herbivores. They mainly eat beans, acorns, grass, and leaves. What varies is the food available in their geographical location.


The mule deer can reach up to 35 miles per hour, while the white-tailed deer can run up to 47 miles per hour.

Other Species Related To Deers

According to the animal welfare institute, deer are part of the ungulates. These are mammals that have hooves. Some of the species in this category that share some similarities with deer include:

  • Reindeers
    • Male reindeers are called bulls and females cows.
    • They both have antlers.
  • Elks
    • They are about 4 feet taller than deer.
    • Females are called cows and males bulls.
  • Antelopes
    • They grow a single pair of antlers with one point.
    • Females are called does, and males are called bucks.
  • Mouflons
    • They grow a single pair of curved antlers that round downwards in a spiral shape with one point.
    • Females are called murvoni, and males are called murva.
  • Gazelle
    • The gazelle looks very similar to antelopes but thinner.
    • The male is called a boar and the female is called a cow.

Alternative Names For Other Animals

Deer are not the only animals that have alternative terms depending on their sex. Here we bring you a list of some of the most common.

  • The male duck is also called a drake.
  • The male turkey is also called a tom.
  • Tomcat is a word people use to refer to a male cat.
  • The male fox is also called a tod. While the female is called “vixen.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a group of male bucks called?

The correct term would be “bunch,” but some people refer to it as a “herd.”

What’s a small male deer called?

A small male deer is called a “Roebuck.”

Are does easier to hunt than bucks?

Not really. Does can be as hard as bucks to hunt, especially when they have reached adulthood.

What time of day are most bucks killed?

Most people hunt bucks before 9:00 in the morning. 

Does a doe or buck taste better?

The taste difference doesn’t have to do with their sex but rather their age. When it comes to tenderness, fawns are your best option.

Final Thoughts

Male deer are usually called “bucks.” This name originated in North America, and it’s currently used as slang in the United States. A female deer is called a “doe.” There is no exact reference to when the terms originated, but we know they are common in hunting. As you can see, hunting is a widespread activity as old as humans themselves.







Why a Dollar is Called a “Buck”