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Columbian White-tailed Deer

Odocoileus virginianus leucurus


A white underside to the tail and white eye rings. It is one of the larger of the deer species.


Willow, cottonwood and alder thickets along stream sides


Since January 2013, about 50 endangered Columbian White-tailed Deer have been trans-located from the Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge (JBHNWR) to the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (RNWR). The trans-location was done to rescue the deer from a potential dike breach on JBHNWR. This was my first spotting of one of these deer on the Ridgefield refuge, June 7, 2013. I reported the spotting to refuge personnel per their request. The adult deer are tagged and a radio collar is installed around their neck. Good luck to these new inhabitants of Ridgefield NWR!

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Great information and photos, Dennis!

JohnCodyPowell 10 years ago

The tags are used to identify the deer as an individual from a distance so that the biologists do not have to tranquilize or otherwise capture the deer which causes stress on the animal. Pit tags would work if they could capture the animal but would be harder and more stressful on the animal to handle it in a way to read the pit tag. The radio collars are specially designed for the animals to lessen the stress or any injury to the animal. The deer should be in no pain from these techniques used to track and identify the deer

Dennis Davenport
Dennis Davenport 10 years ago

There are no fences to keep them in but there are large water boundaries (rivers) around much of the refuge which keeps then contained to an extent. It is possible for them to take an access bridge into nearby neighborhoods. I believe hunting at the refuge is limited to waterfowl. The CWTD was listed as endangered in 1968 but has been delisted in certain local areas ( it has not been delisted at the Ridgefield NWR). So all in all, the animals trans-located to Ridgefield should be fairly well protected from hunting. Good questions!

ulvalactuca77 10 years ago

Are the deer able to leave the refuge? If they are maybe this is so they are not mistakenly killed by hunters? Just a thought.

Dennis Davenport
Dennis Davenport 10 years ago

I am in complete agreement with you all. I have no idea why the tags and transmitter apparatus have to be so large and bulky. It was a surprise to me, too when I first saw the deer. On the other hand, I'm sure the animals get used to it and it didn't seem to bother this deer while I was observing it. Beautiful animals they are! I've had a few comments on Flickr saying that this deer is pregnant.

It is very good that these endangered dear are placed in a safer place, but why those huge tags and radio?! Poor deers!! : (

ulvalactuca77 10 years ago

Geez, seriously! I agree with Maria here. Lindsay Lohan didn't have it so hard!

Maria dB
Maria dB 10 years ago

Very interesting and glad they are trying to rescue these deer but couldn't they have designed less intrusive and huge tags? My goodness. Why not microchip them like cats? I think you could add this to the Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation mission: Thanks for this posting

Dennis Davenport
Spotted by
Dennis Davenport

Washington, USA

Spotted on Jun 7, 2013
Submitted on Jun 13, 2013

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