Stag vs. Deer: What's the Difference?

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People who live in rural areas often encounter deer, four-legged ruminants known for their irritable nature and the love of hunting them for meat and sport. Anyone who lives in a rural area with lots of deer in the surrounding area has probably heard terms like deer, stag, doe, and stag. These terms can be a bit confusing and may even overlap at some point. We'll explain the difference between a buck and a deer, and let you know what all the above names mean.

Comparing Bucks to Deer

deer to deer


A stag is an adult male deer, and the term "deer" refers to a member of the cervid family. A buck is any male deer, indeed a female deer. The term stag applies to both young and older deer, but stag is more accurate when talking about fully grown male deer.

An interesting side note is that the term "buck" is not commonly used around the world. The most common name for bucks is Buck, and people often use the word interchangeably. Therefore, some people may be completely unfamiliar with the term "buck" and apply "buck" to a fully grown, large deer.

4 Key Differences Between Bucks and Deer

Doe bathing her fawn
Bucks are mature stags, while females are called stags.


The most notable differences between bucks and deer are their sex, weight, and form. As we said before, a stag is a male deer, but the word "deer" can be used to refer to any member of the deer family.

Another important difference between bucks and deer is their weight. Bucks are the heaviest deer because they are adult males. Deer are sexually dimorphic, with males tending to be larger and heavier than females.

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Finally, bucks have antlers, but not all deer have antlers. For example, does a doe have no antlers? However, not all bucks have antlers all the time. These are the main differences between stag and deer, but there are some other differences as well. We will explore more differences between these animals in detail.

Stag vs. Deer: Sex

Bucks are only male, while deer are male and female. The word "deer" refers specifically to members of the deer family, so it is a general term rather than a specific term. Male deer of all ages are known as stags. Female deer of all ages are collectively called deer.

Stag is a term that refers only to a specific species of male deer—an older, mature deer that usually has antlers. However, stag is not a term that can be used interchangeably with buck because the word "buck" is too broad.

Stag vs. Deer: Morphology

Roe deer with weeds around the antlers.
Bucks have antlers, but many deer do not.

© Soru Epotok/

Bucks have antlers, but not all deer have antlers. Stag and deer morphology differ in this respect. Confusingly, male deer lose their antlers every year and regrow them just in time for mating season to begin.

Therefore, when shedding antlers in winter, there may not be the most obvious sign that the deer is a stag or doe, only a brief appearance. However, when the warmer weather arrives in spring and their bodies start producing more testosterone again, bucks will begin to grow back their antlers.

Stag vs. Deer: Weight

Bucks are usually the largest males in the herd, and they are also the heaviest in the herd. Bucks are heavier than bucks, and they are heavier than bucks. Bucks have large bodies because they are fully grown animals.

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The largest deer stand 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 990 pounds. In these cases, the larger and taller creature is most likely to be a stag rather than a stag.

Stag vs. Deer: Mature

Largest deer - sambar
Bucks are the mature, aggressive, large males of the herd.


The main difference between bucks and deer, especially bucks, is their level of maturity. Bucks are not fawns; they are several years old, fully developed, and often the strongest deer in any herd they belong to.

Additionally, bucks are noteworthy as they are the most aggressive males in their respective herds. These large adult deer grow antlers so they can use them against other bucks trying to gain mating rights. Differences in maturity help differentiate stags from bucks in the deer kingdom.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the difference between a stag and a stag?

A stag is a fully grown stag, while a stag is a stag of any age. The term "buck" refers specifically to older, mature bucks, who are usually the largest, heaviest, and most aggressive males in a herd. Some people use "buck" and "stag" interchangeably because the word "stag" isn't as popular as it used to be.

What do bucks eat?

Bucks are herbivores and spend most of their time grazing while searching for suitable food. The foods they eat most often include:

  • Grass
  • Forbes
  • nut
  • mushroom

These different foods make up the vast majority of their diets.

Do bucks lose their antlers every year?

Yes, bucks shed their antlers every year, but they may not shed them at the same time. Injured or sick males shed their antlers more quickly because their bodies focus on keeping them healthy rather than trying to hold up the antlers after mating season.

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Bucks that live in colder environments tend to lose their antlers in the first months of winter rather than when the weather is at its worst. However, some bucks don't shed their antlers until closer to spring.

Even though male deer have lost their antlers, it is still possible to distinguish them from male deer. After all, male deer are much larger than the females in the herd. Also, watch the stag's head to see if they have recently lost their antlers or if new antlers are starting to grow.


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