Non-native Deer

Male fallow deer have white spots and antlers that are wider and flattened compared to a white-tailed deer. Fallow deer are not native to Illinois.

Photo: Johann-Nikolaus Andreae, CC By-SA 2.0

Description & Identification

White-tailed deer are the only native deer in Illinois. Older white-tailed deer fawns are sometimes mistaken for non-native deer since they still have their white spots but are adult size.

Fallow deer are native to Europe. They are medium-sized, rust-colored deer with white undersides, rump patch, and side spots. The coat color can vary from rust to tan and even black or white. Adult males have large, palmate antlers. Fallow deer stand 3 feet at the shoulder. Adult males weigh approximately 190 pounds, and adult females weigh approximately 90 pounds.

Sika deer are native to Japan. They are small, reddish-brown deer with white spots. They weigh approximately 100 pounds and stand 2.5 feet at the shoulder. Males typically have a dark mane on their neck.

Legal Status

Fallow deer and Sika deer are not native to Illinois. Neither species is protected in the state.

Report a Sighting

If you have seen a non-native deer roaming free in Illinois, please submit a sighting report to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Sika deer are native to Japan.
A male sika deer.

Photo: Illinois Department of Natural Resources