Deer family

Banff National Park

The deer family have antlers that fall off and re-grow each year.


male moose in wetland 


The moose is the largest member of the deer family! Commonly about the size of a horse. Moose were formerly widely distributed in the park, but have disappeared from the Bow Valley in recent years. The best areas in the park to see moose are along the Icefields Parkway near Upper Waterfowl Lake and north of Saskatchewan Crossing.

Characteristics: Long legs, shoulder hump. Built like a horse with a large head. Shovel-like antlers.

Wapiti (Elk)


Elk are the park's most common ungulate! Tan-coloured animals with white rump patches, they can be seen throughout the park along the roadways. Vermilion Lakes Drive and the golf course road are excellent areas for prospective elk photographers to scout.

Elk are also the most dangerous animal in the park. In the spring, mother elk protect their newborn calves fiercely, warding off any and all creatures that come between them and their young by slashing with their hooves. Similarly, in the fall during the autumn rut, the bull elk become extremely aggressive towards people, using their large racks of antlers to display their dominance. Each year, a number of visitors and locals are injured by park elk -- do not approach any elk closer than fifty metres, and watch closely for any aggressive signs displayed by the animal (raised ears, glaring looks, stamping feet, etc.).

Characteristics: Brown body, darker neck and large tan rump patch. Backwards slanting antlers.

Mule Deer



Mule deer have large ears and a rope-like black-tipped tail . Mule deer like to be in small groups in drier open areas. In summer they eat shrubs and broad-leaved plants. In winter they forage for evergreen twigs, saplings, and shrubs.

Characteristics: Black tip on tail, large ears, white rump, grey colour.

White tailed deer

white tailed deer facing camera, new fuzz on rack


Smaller than mule deer, white-tail deer have reddish coats and triangular-shaped long brown tails that they hold upright when alarmed, exposing the white underside. Look for them at dawn and dusk!

Characteristics: Tan colour, tail has white underside and is held erect like a flag when alarmed.

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