Whoever coined the old English proverb “The eyes are the window to the soul” wasn’t a deer hunter. With deer, it’s all about the tail. You can tell a whole lot about what a buck or doe is thinking or feeling just by reading its flag. Here’s a basic buck translation guide.

Relaxed and droopy

What it Means: All’s well in the world.


Photo by Bill Kinney

Almost vertical and flared

What it Means: I’m feeling a little edgy about something.


Photo by Bill Kinney

Vertical and waving

What it Means: I’m outta here, and you other deer should run, too.


Photo by Bill Kinney

Straight out and ruffled

What it Means: I’m dealing with some anger right now.


Photo by Lance Krueger

A quick twitch or two

What it Means: I checked everything out, it’s cool. No danger.


Photo by Lance Krueger

Tucked down tight

What it Means: Pay no attention to me; I’m just looking for a rock to crawl under.


Photo by Tim Christie