Mississippi designated the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) as official state land mammal in 1974 (along with Mississippi's state water mammal, the bottlenose dolphin). In 1997 the red fox was also recognized as a mammal symbol of Mississippi.
An animal of incredible beauty and power, white-tailed deer are able to run up to 40 miles per hour, jump 9 foot fences, and swim 13 miles per hour. The white underside of the deer's tail waves when running and is flashed as a warning when danger is sensed. Both native Americans and settlers relied on the white-tailed deer for buckskin and food.
The elegant white-tailed deer is the most popular official state mammal (eleven states: Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin).