What do you Call a Group of Deer featured image

What do you Call a Group of Deer?

Most groups of animals have particular names designated to them to identify the kind of group they may be depending on the species. Well, what do you call a group of deer?

The most common name used for a group of deer is a herd. However, five other group names could apply. They are a bunch, rangale, mob, bevy, or a parcel. Different terms usually point toward things that would better describe a group, but that’s not always the case with deer.

A Herd of Deer

a herd of deer eating grass

Most people know what a herd of any given animal might be. A group of animals (mammals in particular) living, feeding and roaming together. Though the term doesn’t apply to all mammals, it is among the most common term used and is appropriate when used with deer.

At some point, there was a distinction made as the term relates to deer. What distinguishes the word “herd” from the other names is that it describes a group of deer led by a dominant male. At least, for the most part…

On occasion, a herd can be divided by sex. In other words, there are occasions where you’ll see a group of females or a group of males, and both constitute being called a herd.

Most of the time, people refer to a group of deer as a “herd of deer” because that’s just how people have heard the term being used when they see a bunch of deer. “Herd” is the most popular and, frankly, the only phrase most people would ever hear being associated with.

How Many Deer Are in a Herd?

a herd of deer in the forest

Female deer tend to herd together in greater numbers than males. Males together will group between 3 to 12 individuals with an ever-evolving hierarchy.

Breeds of deer differ in herd numbers from region to region, country to country, and breed to breed. It’s tough to pin down any “rule of thumb” numbers, but most of the time, you’ll find that herds are small in most places worldwide.

A combination of males and females numbering between 3-5 individuals is commonplace in the United States.

Other Collective Deer Terms:

a herd of deer against a light blue sky background

A Rangale of Deer

A rangale of deer refers to the population of deer in a herd, not including the group’s leaders or the dominant characters. These are the grunts, the followers, the females with their young, and all of the deer who are not deemed alpha.

The word “rangale” is derived from an old French word, “rengaille,” which means “main body of an army.” In a military battle during renaissance times, they would be those grouped to be the fodder on the front lines.

A Bunch of Deer

A “bunch” of deer is typically used to describe a group of Roe deer, primarily used in Europe. However, it’s more common for people to use this term as a lazy means to express seeing a lot of deer, “I saw a whole bunch of deer!”

For this term, it just happens to exist without special conditions within the group of deer.

A Mob of Deer

Similar to “a bunch of deer,” there isn’t any true defining origin that I can find that explains why people would refer to a group of deer as a mob of deer. People often use the word “mob” in a slang way to describe a lot of something (unless they’re referring to the Mafia).

A Bevy of Deer

“Bevy” comes from Middle English, a word used to describe a group of deer and other animals such as quail and larks. There was a time when one would refer to a group of young ladies as a bevy of ladies.

As aforementioned, this is an old term and is often no longer used in the same manner as it once was. Today, “bevy” describes a group of just about anything. Again, much like “mob” and “bunch.”

A Parcel of Deer

A parcel of deer is commonly used when referring to a small group and can also describe a small section of a greater herd.

“Parcel” is derived from the Latin word “particular.” Its original meaning is either “a small part” or “a small portion.”

Final Thoughts

a herd of deer somewhere in the forest

Collective nouns that refer to animals are very tricky to trace to the point of origin, and such is the case with deer. They have been hunting since hunting began, and varieties of deer populate nearly every corner of the world.

Is it any wonder why the definition of these collective terms is foggy?

Common mammals or birds used for livestock are far more standardized in their collective terms to maintain a universal understanding among those in the occupation.

Deer are game animals or prey animals. Though a few farms raise deer, most deer are born and raised wild.

The same has been true for centuries and could explain why there are so many different collective nouns that all point to the same general meaning when we’re talking about deer.


Related Questions:

1. What is a Male Deer Called?

A mature male deer is called a buck. A group of male deer is referred to as bucks.

2. What is a Female Deer Called?

A female deer is called a doe. A group of female deer is also pluralized, being called does.

3. What is a Baby Deer Called?

A baby deer is called a fawn, and Fawns would be the acceptable plural form of the word about a group.

4. What is the Leader of a Herd of Deer Called?

The Leader of a herd of deer would be what is called the “alpha.” The alpha is typically a buck, and the herd’s most powerful and aggressive buck is not just a buck.

When there are no males around to govern the herd, an alpha female will rise in its place. This will also be the most formidable of the herd.

5. Why is Saying Deers Wrong?

When referring to the deer species, the correct spelling refers to more than one remaining “deer,” not “deers.” There are a lot of words out there that we can pluralize by throwing an “s” at the end of them, but deer is not among them.

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