How High Can Deer Jump? The Answer Might Surprise You!

By: Mario

There’s no doubt about it; deer are remarkable athletes!

Their slender form and abundance of fast-twitch muscle fibers allow them to run and swim at blistering speeds, helping them survive in the wild when predators pounce.

And much to the chagrin of those attempting to build fences to keep these animals contained, deer are also master jumpers.

Deer legs don’t look like much to the untrained eye, but make no mistake, having adapted over the course of millions of years, they’re packing some serious heat.

The lean muscles and strong ligaments situated in their front and especially their hind legs allow them to jump roughly 7 feet into the air on average.

To put that into context for you, basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan could only jump 3.8 feet in his prime, which really makes you think… not just that if deer had opposable thumbs they’d be excellent ball players, but how amazing these creatures are in general.

What Is The Highest A Deer Can Jump?

As mentioned a moment ago, on average, an adult deer will be able to jump 7 feet into the air, but considering the physiology of each deer is completely unique, there are no doubt a number of specimens out there capable of destroying this average.

Many consider 8 feet to be an accurate measure of a deer’s vertical jumping ability at the higher end of the spectrum, while a deer with particularly strong legs will likely be able to jump even higher than this.

However, it’s unlikely you’ll ever see a deer jumping, especially at full height.

Why Do Deer Rarely Jump High?

Deer have excellent eyesight, but it’s laterally primed, meaning they have amazing peripheral vision, and they can see for miles too, even in relative darkness, but when it comes to vertical vision, they’re not quite as adept.

When jumping high, deer lose a great deal of their situational and spatial awareness, as their eyes are refined for landscape rather than portrait efficacy.

A full-bodied leap also uses a lot of energy, and as deer have many natural predators, it’s important that they conserve as much energy as possible to escape emergency situations.

How High Can Deer Jump With A Running Start?

7 ft+ is some pretty impressive air for any land-bound creature, but this is nowhere near the height deer can reach if given an opportunity to pick up speed first.

Traveling with velocity, it’s not unheard of for a full-grown deer to clear 12 feet, which I think we can all agree is insane.

So, next time you look to the sky and see a deer soaring through the air alongside the birds, don’t worry, you’re not going crazy, that’s just a deer doing what deer do.

How Far Can Deer Jump?

Deer are even more proficient at jumping long distances than they are jumping for height, as evidenced by the fact that the longest recorded jump of a whitetail deer falls just shy of a whopping 30 feet, which is the equivalent of roughly half a bowling lane.

How High Would A Fence Need To Be To Keep Deer Contained?

A 6-foot fence will be a good activity deterrent, but considering the average deer will be able to clear 7–8 feet from a standing start, a 9-foot fence is considered a solid choice for keeping these high jumping animals contained.

You can go as low as 7.5 feet if you absolutely need to, but a deer may well clear this, especially if they’re being chased, but truth be told, such an event is unlikely.

As mentioned earlier, deer have pretty terrible vertical vision, and as they see predominantly in the yellow, ultraviolet, and deep blue portions of the visible light spectrum, they won’t have good visuals on a PVC-coated hex mesh deer fence or plastic deer fence.

There’s a good chance they won’t even be able to see the top of the fence at all, so attempting to clear one is a particularly risky prospect.

Could A Deer Leap Over A Car?

Deer and cars usually don’t play nice, but despite the danger, sometimes deer are utterly unfazed by cars, even so far as they’ll jump right over an oncoming vehicle when crossing the road.

There is plenty of footage of this happening online, so if you’re having trouble picturing it, check out some videos.

However, as we’ve established that deer can jump up to 12 feet high over a distance of almost 30 feet, I don’t think their being able to leap a car is really stretching the imagination all that much.

Could A Deer Jump Over A Double-Decker Bus?

Double-decker buses – the kind you’d take a tour around London on – are about 14 feet tall, so a deer would not be able to clear one in a single jump, which is a shame, as that would be an awesome thing to see!

If the bus was on its side, however, it may well be possible for a deer to leap over it, as they measure just over 8 feet wide.

Animal Jump-Off: Deer Vs. Everything

Now let’s see how the deer’s epic leap compares to that of some of the other famously athletic creatures around the world.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Lions?

Much like a deer, a mature African lion can clear 12 feet with a running start, so these two animals are level pegging in the height department; however, lions can clear 36 feet horizontally, so they have deer beat in terms of distance.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Horses?

The average horse will only be able to jump about 3 feet into the air, so deer have them well beaten, but horses bred for jumping are a different story.

The current world record was set by a horse named Huaso in 1949. Huaso cleared an obstacle measuring 8 ft 1.25”, which is remarkable, but not quite enough to challenge a deer’s 12-foot leap.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Cougars?

Cougars are one of nature’s most advanced jumpers, capable of clearing 18 feet from a sitting position, so a deer wouldn’t stand a chance of out-jumping one of these 200 lb carnivores.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Fleas?

Okay, so obviously a deer can reach greater altitudes than a flea when jumping, but taking the size of these creatures into consideration, the flea is the more adept jumper.

They’re only roughly 2 millimeters tall, yet they can jump directly upward 7 inches, which is almost 90 times their body height.

Whitetail deer will only ever reach about 3.9 ft if they’re of good stock, meaning they can only jump three times their height at best.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Dogs?

Certain athletic dog breeds have been known to jump higher than 6 feet, but it’s highly unlikely that a pooch of any breed would be able to go toe to toe (or hoof to hoof) with a deer in a jumping contest.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Cats?

The average height of a cat’s jump is between 4.9 and 5.9 feet, but there are some cats out there capable of jumping up to 8 feet into the air, which is around the same as deer from a standing start.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Tigers?

Capable of jumping 16 feet into the air, tigers even give cougars a run for their money, so deer fall short against this big stripy cat.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Antelope?

Antelope are very deer-like creatures, so you’d be correct in assuming this is going to be a nail-biter of a round.

The strongest mature antelope can clear 10 feet upwards, which is incredible considering they weigh as much as 168 lbs, however, given some deer are technically capable of clearing 12 feet, the antelope loses by a hair.

Can Deer Jump Higher Than Humans?

The current high jump world record stands at just over 8 feet, so we humans can hold our own against the average deer, but that’s only with a super speedy run up.

If we allowed deer the same courtesy, they’d blow our 8 feet out of the water!

Final Thoughts

The jumping ability of deer only solidifies them as one of nature’s most magnificent and majestic creatures.

The average deer can clear between 7 and 8 feet without a run-up, but traveling at speed, there have been instances of deer clearing a whopping 12 feet upwards and almost 30 feet across!