There are three deer species in northern Ontario: moose, woodland caribou and white-tailed deer. All three species have brown fur, split hooves, temporary antlers and eat only plants, but their preferred menu and habitats are different. Moose, who prefer to live near lakes, ponds and streams in the boreal forest, enjoy eating lilies, pondweed, willow/birch shoots and dandelions. Caribou, who prefer to live in large herds in the dense boreal forest, like to eat lichens, willow/birch leaves, sedges and grasses. White-tailed deer, who prefer to live on the edges of forests, favour grasses, legumes (such as alfalfa) and willow/birch shoots in their diet. Unlike woodland caribou, white-tailed deer can adapt to live in urbanized areas (i.e. in/near cities and communities).
Did you know?
White-tailed deer have been expanding their range northward and are now being sighted in the southern reaches of the Matawa member First Nation homelands. Boreal woodland caribou populations have been declining throughout Ontario, in response to expanding development (roads, mining and forestry) and the changing climate. Four Rivers is making efforts to record observed changes in all of our deer species populations. Do you have a caribou, moose or deer story that you’d like to share? Please contact us at [email protected] (807-285-9400).