5 Most Common Places Where Deer Live (Regional Breakdown)

Deer peeking out of bushes

Deer are a common sight in many areas of the United States. They prefer to live in habitats that provide both cover and a food source such as forest edges, crop fields, brushlands, pastures, and meadows with tall grass. Although deer are widespread, there are certain areas where they are more populated than others.

In the United States, deer have the highest population in the south, followed by the midwest, the west, and finally the Northeast. Texas has the largest population of deer at over 5 million. Michigan, Mississippi, and Wisconsin also have an abundant deer population.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the population of deer throughout the world! While elk, caribou, and moose are also species of deer, here we’re just talking white-tails, mule deer, and their various subspecies!

Key Takeaways:

  • Deer can be found all across the United States in all 50 states.
  • Populations of deer are the highest in the south and the lowest in the northeast.
  • Various deer species can be found across the U.S., such as whitetail, mule, Sitka, and fallow.

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1. Deer Live In The West

Alaska male sitka black-tailed deer close up portrait in summer

There are more than just whitetail deer and mule deer in the west. Black-tails, Axis, and Coues deer are also present, along with a handful of white-tail subspecies. The west offers a ton of prime habitat for deer including forests, croplands, pastures, rocky mountains, and meadows. 

Deer populations can vary significantly from year to year. This fluctuation is often blamed on coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions, but a 2011 study in Idaho from the Journal Wildlife Monographs found that predators only accounted for 27% of population trend differences. 

Winter severity in the current and previous years was more influential than predators on deer populations. Habitat modifications by people are another factor that influences deer populations.

RegionStateDeer Population
WestWashington252,000 – 300,000
Arizona178,000 – 190,000
Hawaii110,000 – 150,000
New Mexico300,000
Colorado430,000 – 433,000
Idaho455,000 – 520,000


Many animals declined when American explorers came to the Wild Wild West, but deer weren’t one of them. As dense forests were converted to fragments and farmland, deer actually increased their population as they prefer forest edges, pastures, and farmland.

There are two main species of deer and two subspecies of deer that live in Washington. Mule deer are the largest, with bucks weighing up to 250 pounds. 

  • White-tailed Deer: Populations are denser in eastern Washington.
  • Mule Deer: Mainly found east of the cascades and away from the western coast.
  • Columbian Black-Tailed Deer: these beach-loving deer live mainly west of the Cascade Mountains and to the coast.
  • Columbian White-Tailed Deer: an endangered subspecies, Columbian whitetails are only found in the southern portion of the state near the Columbia River.

The deer population in Washington State is somewhere between 252,000 and 300,000.

Deer can fall prey to wolves, mountain lions, black bears, and the occasional wily coyote in Washington, much of the reason why they hide during the day! If you want to learn more about deer and where they go during the day, make sure to head on over to our article!


Oregon is home to the same four species of deer as Washington. They also occupy many of the same habitats as that of Washington except for the Columbian White-Tailed Deer which lives in the northwest region of Oregon.

Estimates from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife put black-tailed deer populations at around 320,000, mule deer at 215,000, and Columbian white-tailed deer at over 5,000. There were no population estimates for white-tailed deer.

All in all, this gives us a total deer population of around 540,000 deer in Oregon, though the number is likely higher if we add in the white-tail count.


In many states, deer populations are on the decline due to human expansion. While creating farmland and cropland may be beneficial, creating concrete towns and cities is not.

California deer populations are no different, hitting rock bottom in 2006 and since then slowly increasing each year. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, puts deer population estimates in 2017 at 532,621. This is on a downward trend from a high in 2015 of 649,000.

There are six species of deer in California, though their names appear differently depending on where you look.

  • Mule Deer (also known as Rocky Mountain mule deer): These massive deer are mostly found in Northwest Cali.
  • California Mule Deer: Mainly found on the western and southwestern side of the state.
  • Southern Mule Deer: As the name suggests, these deer occupy the southern portion of the state.
  • Desert Mule Deer (also called the burro mule deer): Found in the desert regions of the southwest.
  • Columbian Black-Tailed Deer: These beautiful animals can be found in the northern areas of California.
  • Inyo Mule Deer: Inyo mule deer live in the Sierra Nevada mountains.


There are two species of deer in Arizona: the mule deer and the Coues white-tailed deer. Coues deer are much smaller than mule deer with adult males rarely reaching over 100 pounds.

Coues deer are found more often in central and southeastern Arizona, while mule deer are densest in the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona.

Based on estimates for both mule deer and Coues deer, their population ranges from 178,000 to 190,000 in the state of Arizona. Mule deer have higher populations than the smaller Coues deer.


Originally, Alaska was home to just one species of deer: the Sitka black-tailed deer. A July 2019 article from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game discovered that white-tailed deer and mule deer are making their way into Alaska from the Canadian border.

Population estimates weren’t available for the mule deer and white-tailed deer, but Sitka black-tailed numbers at around 265,000.

Sitka deer prefer the rainforests in southeast Alaska and can be found on the Kodiak and Afognak islands where they were transplanted back in the 1930s.


Deer are not native to Hawaii but were first introduced in the 1860s as a gift to King Kamehameha V on Molokai. Even though only nine deer were gifted, their populations have increased dramatically since then. 

The founder of Kia Hawaii, an ungulate management company, put deer populations at 50,000-70,000 on Molokai, 25,000-30,000 on Lanai, and 35,000 to 50,000 on Maui for a total population of 110,000 – 150,000.

There is only one species of deer in Hawaii, the Axis deer. They are native to Asia and can be as large as mule deer, with males weighing up to 250 pounds.

New Mexico

New Mexico is home to three species of deer:

  • Mule Deer
  • White-tailed Deer
  • Coues Deer

The coues deer is the smallest of the three and is typically found in southwest New Mexico. Mule deer are the largest and can be found throughout the state, especially near the rocky mountains and in the southern arid regions.

New Mexico Game and Fish puts their numbers at around 300,000 deer in the state. In New Mexico, deer must contend with cougars, black bears, the Mexican gray wolf, bobcats, and coyotes.


A variety of climates and habitats are available in Colorado. In general, the state has a lot of high-elevation areas where mule deer thrive in forests, near lakes, on open plains, and in brushy meadows.

Colorado State University and Colorado Parks and Wildlife both agree that the population of deer in Colorado is around 430,000 – 433,000.

More deer live in the western portion of the state than in the eastern.

Like many other states in the West, deer populations are in decline due to humans changing the landscape and harsh weather. There are just two species of deer in Colorado, the mule deer and the whitetailed deer.


White-tail deer are a relative newcomer to the state, first appearing in the 1990s. Mule deer, on the other hand, have been around for ages. Whitetails are mostly found on the eastern and northeastern side of the state, while mule deer can be found throughout Utah.

Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources tells us that the mule deer population sits at around 305,700. Another source puts the white-tail population around 1,000 for a grand total of 306,700 deer in Utah.


There is currently only one species of deer in Nevada, the mule deer. These Western big boys have been steadily declining in numbers for the past 20 years.

Mule deer populations are estimated to be around 93,000 in Nevada.

Mule deer occupy two distinct areas throughout the year. In winter, they prefer lower-elevation areas like sagebrush and arid open land. In the summer, mule deer migrate to higher elevations and prefer rocky hillsides.


Idaho is home to the mule deer and white-tailed deer. White-tailed deer are found mainly in the northern portion of the state where dense forests and brushy fields provide shelter and food. Mule deer prefer the more arid regions of the lower half of the state.

Population estimates vary depending on where you look, but deer numbers are most likely between 455,000 to 520,000 in Idaho.

Unlike many other western states, the deer population in Idaho seems to be fairly stable. There are more mule deer in Idaho than white-tails.


Like Idaho and Nevada, only mule deer and white-tailed deer can be found in Wyoming. Mule deer populations have been on a steady decline since 2000 while whitetails have seen a slight uptick in numbers.

2020 population estimates for deer are somewhere around 422,900. Like Idaho, there are more mule deer than whitetails in the state of Wyoming.

White-tail deer are most often found in the northeast and southeast, while mule deer prefer the western mountains in the summer and eastern Wyoming in the winter. That being said, both deer can be found throughout the majority of the state.


The huge state of Montana is situated on the Canadian border. A small portion of Yellowstone is located in the south-central part of the state where all animals within the national park are protected.

Both mule deer and white-tailed deer live in Montana. Both populations have been steadily decreasing since 2017. The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks puts the total deer population around 456,411 in Montana.

  • Mule Deer (2022) – 249,758
  • White-tailed Deer (2022) – 206,653

White-tails tend to stick to the central and western portion of the state with a small patch in the northeast corner. Mule deer occupy the entire state but have small populations in Big Horn and Glacier counties.

2. The South Is Home To The Most Deer

Mule deer buck walking in the brush

That’s a wrap for the West! Now, onto the South. The south is known for having a lot of wetlands and swamps, but this isn’t the only habitat in this region.

There are tons of coastal regions, brushlands, meadows, mountains, piedmont, and dense forests where deer find themselves at home. In terms of the deer population, the south has a higher density of deer per state than the west.

There are multiple states where the population is at or exceeds 1 million deer!

RegionState Deer Population
South Texas5,486,000 – 5,886,000
Arkansas900,000 – 1,100,000
Louisiana500,000 – 545,000
Alabama1,400,000 – 1,600,000
South Carolina730,000 – 750,000
North Carolina1,000,000*
Virginia850,000 – 1,000,000
West Virginia550,000 – 650,000


Texas is home to five species of deer, but only two of them are native. White-tails and mule deer have been in Texas for a long time, but the Sitka, Axis, and Fallow deer were introduced for outdoor sport later and are considered non-native species.

Texas Parks & Wildlife tells us that white-tail deer are extremely abundant in the state with population estimates of around 5.3 million. Yep, Million!

All in all, the grand total of deer in Texas is probably somewhere between 5,486,000 and 5,886,000. The numbers are split between the deer population as follows:

  • White-tailed deer – 5.3 million – 5.6 million
  • Mule deer – 150,000 – 250,000
  • Sitka deer (non-native) – 11,000 (1988 estimate)
  • Axis deer (non-native) – >15,000
  • Fallow deer (non-native) – 10,000


Both white-tailed deer and mule deer call Oklahoma home. Mule deer are found almost exclusively in the panhandle region and in dry, elevated areas. White-tails can be found throughout the state wherever there is enough cover and food available.

Oklahoma State Universit puts white-tail deer numbers around 750,000 in 2020.

Mule deer numbered around just 2,000 in the state of Oklahoma. Mule deer are mainly a western species, so it’s no surprise that the further east we move, the lower their population gets.


Deer populations in Arkansas are abundant, with high populations located in the Ozark and Ouachita national forests where plenty of cover and food is available. 

Arkansas is home to only the white-tailed deer, and when we say their populations are abundant we mean it! Arkansas’ deer population is somewhere around 900,000 to 1,100,000!


The only deer in Louisiana is the white-tailed deer. While white-tails are abundant and widespread throughout the state, they have denser populations along the eastern side of the state near the Mississippi River. In particular, they thrive in hardwood forests in these areas.

The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries estimates the deer population to be over 500,000. A few other sources put their numbers as high as 545,000 deer in Louisiana.


White-tail deer in Mississippi prefer young forests that have plenty of light for grasses, forbs, and small shrubs to grow. They do not typically live in old forests with closed canopies as there is little food to be found there.

Mississippi State University provides an estimate of around 1,750,000 deer in Mississippi! Mississippi holds third place for having the largest deer population.

Like Louisiana, deer flock to the areas surrounding the Mississippi River as they provide great habitat for deer in terms of food and cover. This means deer populations are high along the western side of the state.


Alabama’s native deer include just the white-tail, but fallow deer were brought in for outdoor recreation somewhere around the 1920s or 1930s.

Auburn University puts white-tail deer numbers between 1.4-1.6 million in Alabama.

White-tails can be found throughout the state, but prefer habitats with a variety of environments such as forests bordering brushy meadows or cropland.

Fallow deer are rare to see in the state, with a population estimate of just 40 or so individuals. They are found only near Miller’s Ferry, which is located just southwest of Montgomery. 


Like many other states, Georgia’s white-tailed deer population is on the decline. The main reason for this is poor habitat management. Instead of prescribed burns and timber harvests that open up the forest and provide food and shelter, decision-makers seem to be getting in their own way and shelving these activities to address other issues. 

When this happens, fawns have no cover to hide when they are born. Bears and coyotes in Georgia take advantage of this, thus lowering the population.

Despite this, white-tailed deer populations are still high in Georgia. There are also a few reports of fallow deer in the state. Georgia’s deer population is around 1 million.


Florida contains a wide variety of habitats for deer including sandy coastal areas, forest edges, meadows, and cropland. There are three species of deer in Florida:

  • White-tailed deer: abundant throughout Florida but mostly stay away from coastal areas and prefer young forests with low-growing shrubs.
  • Key deer: An endangered species, key deer are found only in the Florida Keys. They are peculiar in that they have a high tolerance for saltwater. It is the smallest deer in Florida.
  • Sambar deer: This non-native species of deer prefers wetlands and its diet consists of aquatic plants. They can only be found on St. Vincent Island in northwest Florida.

2020 population estimates for deer were around 700,000.

Key deer make up about 700-800 individuals and sambar deer account for just 70-100 individuals. The rest are white-tailed deer.

South Carolina

South Carolina offers deer a variety of habitats. White-tailed deer occupy the entire state, preferring young forests, croplands, and brushy fields. They’ll also live in coastal areas where there are marshes and wetlands, though this isn’t preferred.

No official records could be found for the deer population in South Carolina except for a 2015 report from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources which put them around 750,000. More recent reports from 2022 put their numbers around 730,000.

Two species of deer call South Carolina home: white-tailed deer and the Hilton Head white-tailed deer. The latter is only found on Hilton Head Island in the southern corner of the state.

North Carolina

The white-tailed deer is the only species of deer in North Carolina. The highest density of white-tails lives in the northwest portion of the state from Watauga County east to Person County and in the southwest near Cleveland County, moving east to Moore County. Very few whitetails live on the eastern and western extremes of the state.

No official estimates could be found, but a report from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission put their numbers around 1 million in North Carolina.


Unlike most states we’ve talked about so far, Tennessee is expecting deer populations to increase one or two percent per year for the foreseeable future. Current estimates put the deer population in Tennessee at around 900,000.

The only deer in Tennessee is the white-tailed deer, but there are some reports of fallow deer and even axis deer sightings. These are deer that have escaped a breeder. There are no known wild populations of these deer in Tennessee.

Deer populations are highest on the west side of the state, where the Mississippi River snakes its way through the state. The further east you go, the lower the deer density.


Deer are most common on the western and northern sides of Kentucky while the lowest deer populations are found on the eastern side.

Two species of deer can be found in Kentucky:

  • White-tailed deer: These deer are extremely abundant throughout the state. A 2020 estimate from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources puts white-tail numbers at approximately 933,089 deer.
  • Fallow deer: Not many people know about the small fallow deer population in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area – a small strip of land situated between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley on the southwestern side of the state.

The population of fallow deer is thought to be around 60, giving Kentucky a grand total of around 933,149 deer.


Virginia is home to just the white-tailed deer. Historically and in today’s day, deer populations are the densest in the northern and northwestern edge of the state, especially in Louden County and the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest area.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources estimates deer populations are somewhere between 850,000 – 1,000,000. Deer in Virginia try to use valleys more often than ridges as they offer more protection for fawns. 

West Virginia

The white-tailed deer is the only species found in West Virginia. West Virginia has the smallest deer population of the southern states.

Their population is somewhere between 550,000 – 650,000.

Despite having a small population, deer can be found across the state. West Virginia is dominated by huge swaths of unbroken forest, which is not the best habitat for deer.

Their populations are likely higher at edge environments where a forest meets a brushy field.

3. Midwest Deer Populations

Deer in autumn field

The Midwest has one foot in the west and one foot in the east. Some of the states here have mule deer, but as we move further east, mule deer populations disappear, and white-tail populations soar.

The Midwest is similar to the South in terms of the deer population.

There is a lot of favorable habitat in the Midwest, mainly due to agricultural lands being bordered by forests. Many outdoor enthusiasts claim that the Midwest is the best area for deer.

RegionStateDeer Population
MidwestNorth Dakota135,000
South Dakota480,000
Nebraska300,000 – 350,000
Iowa400,000 – 478,000
Ohio600,000 – 800,000

North Dakota

As we take a step back into the western side of the United States, you’ll see that mule deer are making a reappearance. In addition to mule deer, North Dakota is also home to white-tailed deer.

Mule deer are mostly found in the Badlands on the western side of the state while white-tails occupy the eastern two-thirds.

There isn’t a lot of information out there about the deer population in North Dakota, the population in 2017 was reported to be around 135,000.

South Dakota

Both white-tailed deer and mule deer live in South Dakota. These two might not be on the face of Mount Rushmore, but they are certainly a tourist attraction in the state for outdoor recreation. 

The Missouri River splits South Dakota into roughly two halves. White-tails are denser east of the Missouri and mule deer have higher populations to the west.

South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks tells us that the 2020 deer population numbered around 480,000. White-tails have higher populations than mule deer:

  • White-tail population – 400,000
  • Mule deer population – 80,000


You can find both white-tails and mule deer in Nebraska, not to be confused with any of the elk, pronghorns, or bighorn sheep that also reside in the state.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln gives us a 2008 estimate of deer between 300,000 – 350,000.

This may seem like outdated numbers, but populations are relatively stable in Nebraska with a few pockets of upward and downward trends. An unofficial estimate for 2019 was 320,000, which reinforces that the 2008 estimate is within range of current populations.

White-tails can be found throughout the state, but mule deer tend to stick to the western two-thirds of Nebraska.


As you can see, mule deer and white-tail deer are pretty respectful of each other and tend to inhabit different territories.

In Kansas, mule deer stick to the high plains and red hills region of western Kansas while white-tails prefer the eastern and central areas of Kansas.

There are an estimated 700,000 deer in Kansas.


Missouri is home to a variety of suitable habitats for deer including Prairies, agricultural fields, bottomland forest edges, and brushy fields.

The University of Missouri puts the current deer population at around 1.4 million.

Both white-tails and mule deer can be found in Missouri, but the population of mule deer is small and mostly occurs on the western edge of the state. White-tails can be found in all 114 counties of Missouri. 


White-tail deer are the only kind of deer found in Iowa, although there is some anecdotal evidence that a few mule deer live on the western side of the state. 

Iowa’s deer are very mobile, constantly filling voids left behind by deer mortalities. This gives them the best chance of survival since they can spread out and find plenty of available food. 

It is the corn state after all! 

Iowa’s mild winters also help deer survival rates. Despite this, Iowa has a relatively small deer population. Iowa Department of Natural Resources tells us that there are around 400,000 deer in the state.


Known for having some of the harshest winters in the U.S., Minnesota is still home to a large population of white-tailed deer.

Like Iowa, there are a few reports of mule deer on the western side of the state, but the population is likely low. Deer in Minnesota take advantage of the vast agricultural fields, prairies, and forest edges.

An estimate from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources puts deer populations around 1,053,233.


Wisconsin has the second-highest deer population in the Midwest. An estimate from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says the state has a whopping 1,554,400 deer!

In Wisconsin, deer are mostly found near the edges between forestland and agricultural fields.

Since Wisconsin is known as “America’s Dairyland,” it’s no surprise that deer have plenty of pastures and fields to choose from. Most of the deer in Wisconsin are white-tails, with a few reports of mule deer trotting around.


White-tailed deer are native to Illinois, but the occasional Fallow or Sitka deer is spotted in the state due to escapees from captivity. 

Deer populations are highest in Illinois near watersheds that have plenty of available forest cover. They’re also abundant in southern Illinois near the Shawnee Hills.

There are no official estimates for the deer population in Illinois, but some news reports put their numbers at approximately 640,000 deer.

The available habitat in Illinois isn’t as good as some of the other states on our list, with only a third of the state being described as good habitat for deer.


White-tail deer occupy every county in Indiana and tend to do a lot of crop damage in some areas of the state. These rascally animals have rebounded from a dramatically low population of zero in 1900.

2020 estimates put their numbers close to 680,000 thanks to habitat management practices and the release of deer into the state from neighboring states.


There isn’t a lot of information out there about Ohio’s white-tailed deer population. It’s estimated to be around 600,000 and 800,000, but there are no official reports.

White-tails are abundant across the state and can be found in all 88 counties, however, populations seem to be higher along the eastern side of the state compared to the western.


As we move further east again, you’ll notice that fewer states have mule deer. Only white-tailed deer are found in Michigan. While no official counts could be found, a news article from 2022 put Michigan’s deer population around 2,000,000.

Michigan’s white-tails are different than many others because of the state’s harsh winters. This causes the deer to migrate further between seasons. In the winter, their populations mostly occupy the southern half of the state. The opposite is true during the summer.

Any snow that is greater than 12 inches will make it hard for deer to prance away from predators and find food.

Michigan can see up to 100 days of snow cover above 12 inches in the winter, making it one of the most challenging states for deer. You can read more about the places deer go during the winter here.

4. The Northeast Has The Lowest Deer Populations

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) fawn eating soybean leaves in a field during summer.

Of the top 10 smallest states in the U.S., the Northeast contains 8 of them. For this reason alone, deer populations are rather small in most of the states in the Northeast.

Even so, there are plenty of habitats in the northeast that are suitable for deer. There are almost exclusively white-tails in the Northeast, except for Maryland and Delaware which have a small population of Sika deer.

NortheastPennsylvania 1,500,000
New York1,200,000
Maine310,000 – 320,000
New Hampshire100,000
Massachusetts95,000 – 100,000
Rhode Island16,000
New Jersey125,000 – 150,000
Maryland230,000 – 235,000


The Keystone State is home to only the white-tailed deer.

White-tails are considered common throughout the entire state and have plenty of favorable habitats to choose from. Agricultural fields, the Appalachian Mountains, and large brushy meadows dot much of the state.

An article from Kutztown University puts deer numbers exceeding 1.5 million in Pennsylvania. This is a huge comeback after a lack of regulations decimated the deer down to just a few rare sightings in the late 1800s.

New York

New York is known for New York City, but there is so much more to this state than the city that never sleeps.

The Adirondack mountains in the north, the coastline in the southeast, and vast swaths of fragmented farmland and forests throughout offer deer excellent habitats to thrive.

There are no official estimates of the deer population in New York, however, some sources estimate it to be around 1.2 million.


Maine is home to some of the largest white-tails, with bucks often reaching between 200 – 300 pounds, with records up to 400 pounds!

Compare that to the average white-tail that only reaches around 150 pounds. Deer population estimates are between 310,000 – 320,000 in Maine.

The best habitat for white-tails in Maine is forest edges, wetlands, and reverting farmlands during the summer. In the winter, they prefer the cover of dense forests with closed canopies to protect them from the weather.


Like most states in the northeast, Vermont only contains white-tailed deer. The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says there are around 133,000 deer in Vermont.

This number may seem low compared to other states, but Vermont is located at the northern edge of the white-tail’s range, which explains the low population.

The harsh winters and high-elevation areas keep populations low. During the summer, deer prefer the areas in Vermont with valleys and fields bordered by forest.

New Hampshire

The only deer found wild in New Hampshire is the white-tail deer. This tiny state is a little less than 9,000 square miles but has plenty of healthy habitat for deer.

Deer are more populated in the southern part of the state and along the western edge near the Connecticut River. New Hampshire Fish and Game estimates the deer population to be around 100,000 in the state. 


Massachusetts is another small state, but despite this, it is one of the most densely populated states in the USA.

The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife says white-tailed deer populations are somewhere between 95,000 – 100,000 in the state.

White-tailed deer are the only wild deer in Massachusetts.

Deer populations are denser on the eastern side of the state due to certain outdoor recreation regulations. They are also quite dense on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket islands. The further west you travel in Massachusetts, the lower the deer population.

Rhode Island

White-tailed deer are the only wild population of deer in Rhode Island.

This small state harbors around 16,000 deer. While this number may seem small, white-tails are overpopulated in the state, with around 15 deer per square mile.

In Rhode Island, deer use a variety of habitats. They can be found on many of the islands, in upland hills, coastal shores, forest edges, and in suburban backyards.


There’s not a whole lot of information out there for the deer in Connecticut. What we do know is that, like most states in the northeast, Connecticut is home to only white-tailed deer.

Connecticut’s deer population is estimated to be around 101,000, though this is an unofficial estimate from local news sources. Deer can be found in dense forests during the winter and migrate to fields and forest edges in the summer.

New Jersey

Like Rhode Island, white-tailed deer are considered overpopulated in New Jersey with a density of around 17 deer per square mile.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) puts the total deer population in the state between 125,000 and 150,000. White-tails are the only deer found in New Jersey

The NJDEP also states that most habitats can only sustain around 10 deer per square mile before damage to the ecosystem occurs. When deer are too plentiful, they can damage their surroundings in a few different ways:

  • Over-browsing
  • Loss of crops/garden vegetables/fruit production
  • Increased erosion

If you live in New Jersey or anywhere with an overabundance of deer, you may want to take a look at our article on the things to do if you find deer in your yard.


Maryland is home to two species of deer, the white-tailed deer and the rare Sika deer (not to be confused with ‘Sitka’ deer).

  • White-tailed deer: White-tails are abundant in the state and can be found in almost every habitat except for dense urban cities like Baltimore. No official counts could be found, but it’s estimated to be around 220,000.
  • Sika deer: Originally from Japan, Sika deer were released in the early 1900s in Maryland and have since expanded their populations to number between 10,000 – 15,000 individuals.

Sika deer are mainly found in the southern block of Maryland and prefer marshy environments. Adding together both populations, Maryland has around 230,000 – 235,000 deer.


There are two species of deer in Delaware: white-tailed deer and Sika deer. The Sika population is very small and has traveled from southern Maryland into Delaware.

The deer population is around 45,000 in Delaware.

Sika deer inhabit the southern portion of Delaware. White-tails can be found across the state, but the highest densities are typically in the western and southern parts of the state compared to the eastern coastal shores.

5. Other Places Deer Live


We’ve hit all the deer in the good ol’ USA, but there are still plenty of deer living in other parts of the world! In Europe, you can find the following three native deer:

  • Fallow Deer
  • Red Deer
  • Roe Deer


Asia is home to the largest variety of deer of any continent in the world. It’s no surprise seeing as it is the largest continent in the world and contains plenty of good deer habitat.

In Asia, you can find the following native deer:

  • Axis Deer
  • Barasingha Deer
  • Bawean Deer
  • Bornean Yellow Muntjac
  • Calamian Deer
  • Chinese Water Deer
  • Eld’s Deer
  • Fea’s Muntjac
  • Indian Hog Deer
  • Indian Muntjac
  • Indian Sambar Deer
  • Pere David Deer
  • Persian Fallow Deer
  • Philippine Deer
  • Philippine Spotted Deer
  • Rusa Deer
  • Reeves Muntjac
  • Sika Deer
  • Tufted Deer
  • White Lipped Deer


Besides Antarctica and Australia, Africa has the smallest variety of native deer, sitting at just 1 species:

  • Barbary Stag

South America

Seven species of native deer can be found in South America:

  • Brocket
  • Marsh Deer
  • Northern Pudu
  • Pampas Deer
  • South Andean Deer
  • Southern Pudu
  • Taruca Deer

Australia has a few deer species that were brought over for game species, but there are no native deer in Australia. Antarctica is in a similar situation, though a few reindeer have been brought over to the continent.

Wrapping Things Up

Deer are just about everywhere in the world and come in a variety of different species and subspecies. They’re iconic in much of the United States and a highly prized animal for both the average suburban homeowner and the outdoor enthusiast.

If you want to learn some amazing facts about deer – make sure to head on over to our article on the sounds and noises deer make.

Deer are more common in some places than others. To recap, the regions with the highest deer population break down as follows:

  1. South: Anywhere from 16,949,149 to 18,564,149 deer call the South home. Despite the many coastal and swampy areas of the South, deer prefer the drier habitats in this region.
  2. Midwest: In the midwest, somewhere between 9,942,633 and 10,270,633 deer occupy this region. There is a mixture of mule deer and white-tails in the midwest.
  3. West: There are around 4,341,632 to 4,509,632 deer in the West. There are generally more mule deer in the west than white-tailed deer.
  4. Northeast – The Northeast is almost exclusively white-tailed deer except for a small population of Sika deer in Maryland and Delaware. All in all, there are somewhere between 3,855,000 and 3,900,000 deer in the northeast.

In terms of states, Texas has the highest population of deer. 

In many areas across North America, deer have rebounded tremendously from extremely low populations. Some states even extirpated deer entirely from the state for a time before bringing deer in from their neighbors to repopulate the state.

These large mammals are an important part of the ecosystem, spreading seeds they consume from plants and providing food for predatory animals like cougars, coyotes, and wolves. A world without these wonderful creatures would look very different!


Hanberry, B. B., & Hanberry, P. (2020, August 27). Regaining the History of Deer Populations and Densities in the Southeastern United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 44(3), 512-518.

Hurley, M. A., Unsworth, J. W., Zager, P., Hebblewhite, M., Garton, E. O., Montgomery, D. M., Skalski, J. R., & Maycock, C. I. (2011). Demographic Response of Mule Deer to Experimental Reduction of Coyotes and Mountain Lions in Southeastern Idaho. Wildlife Monographs, 178, 1-33.

Lamprinos, Matthew J., “Impact of whitetail deer overpopulation with hunting on the decline” (2021). English Department: Research for Change – Wicked Problems in Our World. 52.

McCreedy, C.D. 1996. Sustainable management of a public resource: The white-tailed deer in Indiana. FNR-153, Dept. Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

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