Wildlife of the Week: White-tailed deer

WSU faculty conduct research on local wildlife species



A White-Tailed Deer leaps through a creek in Northern Idaho, Oct. 31, 2020.


The white-tailed deer is a widespread deer species researched here at WSU. In Washington, the species is primarily found in the eastern portion of the state, said Lisa Shipley, professor for the School of the Environment.

White-tailed deer act as browsers, feeding on various shrubs and grasses throughout the region. In Pullman, the species is most easily found at the nearby parks, such as Klemgard  and Wawawai.

Shipley said she works with the deer at WSU’s Deer Service Center, where she recently conducted research comparing habitat use and nutritional requirements of the species and of another local deer species, the mule deer.

Unfortunately, many of the university’s deer were recently lost due to a regional outbreak of Bluetongue disease, a virus deadly for deer and spread by the bite of midges and gnats. At the moment, only five research deer remain on campus, all of which are females.