Deer in a field - Willi Schnabel - Framed Picture - 11" x 14"
Deer (singular and plural) are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the fallow deer and the chital, and the Capreolinae, including the elk, reindeer (caribou), the Western roe deer, and the moose.
The musk deer of Asia and water chevrotain (or mouse deer) of tropical African and Asian forests are not usually regarded as true deer and form their own families: Moschidae and Tragulidae, respectively.
Deer appear in art from Palaeolithic cave paintings onwards, and they have played a role in mythology, religion, and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry.
Their economic importance includes the use of their meat as venison, their skins as soft, strong buckskin, and their antlers as handles for knives. Deer hunting has been a popular sport since at least the Middle Ages, and remains an important business today.