How Fast Are Deer? Top Speeds and How It Compares to Its Predators

white-tailed deer in Canadian winter
© Mircea Costina/

Written by Stephanie Harper

Published: October 13, 2023

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There’s something wildly beautiful and majestic about deer. These beautiful mammals exist in nature with so many interesting facts to back them up. To start things off, there are two main groups of deer to think about. Cervinae deer include elk, muntjac, red deer, and fallow deer. Capreolinae deer include moose, reindeer, white-tailed deer, mule deer, and roe deer. When it comes to their anatomy, they have four hooves on each foot: Two large and two small. Deer spend plenty of their daytime hours sleeping, foraging for food, and playing with other deer in their bevy. How fast do deer actually run, though? Some have showcased top speeds that are beyond impressive. Here’s what you should know about the speed of deer and how their quickness compares to predators.

How Fast Do Deer Run?

Deer. The white-tailed deer also known as the whitetail or Virginia deer in winter on snow. White taild deer is the wildlife symbol of Wisconsin and game animal of Oklahoma.

White-tailed deer can run decently fast in nature.

©Karel Bock/

When analyzing the speed of a deer, there are a few different things to take into account. It certainly depends on the species of a deer, since some species are a little faster than others. World Deer notes that the average deer runs at about 30 mph. While running, deer don’t generally keep up with the same exact speed the entire way through. As it is with most creatures, sometimes deer run faster and sometimes they run slower. It all depends on how threatened they feel at the time.

If a deer believes their life is on the brink with a predator nearby, they’ll run as fast as possible to escape that ringing sense of danger. You’ll also be able to catch deer running quickly during mating season. A male deer who’s full of high testosterone will move quicker than normal while pursuing the female deer he’s ready to impregnate. If you ever see a deer running between 35 to 40 mph, just know that such a speed probably won’t last very long. They are not accustomed to maintaining such quick speeds for extended periods. As soon as their bodies start tiring, they’ll naturally slow their stride.

5 Most Common Deer Species and Their Top Speeds

White-tailed deer buck in velvet

Deer speeds vary based on their species.

©Jeramey Lende/

Five of the most common deer species are the white-tailed deer, elk, reindeer, moose, and mule deer. White-tailed deer can run 30 mph while moose and mule deer can both run 35 mph. Next up, elk can run 45 mph. Most impressively of all, reindeer can run 50 mph. When people think of reindeer, they often connect this species to Christmas and the entire holiday season. After all, reindeer are the exact animals who pull Santa Claus’s sled along. Every animated depiction of reindeer showcases them as incredibly stealthy and fast creatures who really know how to move their legs. Granted, reindeer don’t actually fly in real life, but the speed in which they run is still pleasant to see in all of those movies and TV shows.

How Fast are Deers’ Predators?

Apex predator: Wolf

Wolves are some of the most haunting predators for deer.

©Jim Cumming/

The most haunting predators to go after deer happen to be bears, coyotes, wolves, and bobcats. Deer should also be on the lookout for mountain lions, foxes, eagles, and alligators. Most of all, the greatest predators of deer are human beings. Anyone who watched the original Bambi movie from 1942 remembers the animated storyline of Bambi‘s mother. The mama deer died at the hands of a hunter in one of the opening scenes. Although this particular Disney movie isn’t based on any one true story, the realization that deer die at the hands of humans is still completely legitimate. So, how fast are deers’ greatest predators in comparison?

Black bears run at of speed of 30 mph while grizzly bears run at a speed of 35 mph. Coyotes can run at speeds anywhere between 35 to 43 mph. Wolves tend to run between 31 and 37 mph while hunting for their next meal. Bobcats are known to run around 30 mph to go along with their spectacular climbing skills. Mountain lions run at speeds of 40 to 50 mph when they’re on a mission for some food to chow down on. There are a few different foxes for deer to be scared of including red foxes and grey foxes. Grey foxes run a little faster than red foxes with top speeds of 42 mph. Eagles can swoop in and change the trajectory of a deer’s life for the worst at any given moment.

A bald eagle flies in at 75 to 99 miles per hour, and a golden eagle flies even faster at 200 mph. Deer can’t even take a breather when it comes to getting away from alligators who can reach speeds of 35 mph when they’re on land. Fortunately, alligators do get tired faster than other land animals on this list. On average, human beings run between 6.5 and 8 mph. The fastest speed ever recorded by humans was managed by Usain Bolt who reached 27.5 mph. Typically, when a human is hunting deer, humans aren’t running around on foot trying to track deer down. Humans use weapons such as guns or bows and arrows.

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About the Author

Stephanie Harper is a professional writer who graduated from Cal State Northridge with her English degree. She loves writing about animals, travel, and other lifestyle topics.

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