- "Oh, for the love of Hylia... That's not a horse!"
- — Stable Clerk
Deer are a race of animals from Breath of the Wild. Link can hunt them in the plains and forests across Hyrule. They are one of the few wild animals that Link can tame like horses; however, he cannot register them at a stable or equip them. Link can easily tell bucks and does apart, as bucks have large antlers, which they use to defend themselves, their territory, and presumably for fighting other males during mating season. Though both Mountain Bucks and Mountain Does are both Mountain Deer, they have separate Compendium entries, differences in appearance, and different behavior. Mountain Does will flee from danger and have small antlers, while Mountain Bucks have large antlers and will use their antlers to defend themselves, though like females will generally flee from danger. However both male and female mountain deer drop Raw Prime Meat when killed. Apples are the favorite food of Mountain Doe, a fact which Link can use to his advantage while hunting them.
A drawing of a Mountain Buck appears on the Emblazoned Shield which is a traditional design from the Necluda province according to the shield's description, indicating there is a tradition of cultural depictions of deer (at least on shields) in Necluda. In addition to male and female Mountain Deer, Tabantha Moose are considered the largest species of deer in Hyrule according to their Hyrule Compendium entry. Tabantha Moose inhabit cold regions such as Gerudo Highlands, Hebra Mountains, and Tabantha Tundra. Like most mammals who live in cold climates, they drop Raw Prime Meat and Raw Gourmet Meat when killed. Tabantha Moose meat is said to be tender and high quality, so it works well in a Stew. While Tabantha Moose are large animals they tend to flee, though like Mountain Bucks will use their antlers to defend themselves at times. Link must be careful while hunting them for their meat in extremely cold weather as the cold can freeze the meat they drop if Link leaves it on the ground for too long. Pondo has made several wood carvings of Tabantha Moose which can be found near and around Pondo's Lodge in Tabantha Tundra.
During the Shrine quest "The Crowned Beast", Link must mount a Mountain Buck and ride it to the pedestal in the Rabia Plain, in order to make Mezza Lo Shrine appear. The traveling Rito musician Kass gives Link a clue that he must ride a male deer onto the pedestal through the song he performs at the location. Link can also ride Mountain Doe as well though this serves no purpose. Link is unable to ride Tabantha Moose making them the only deer in Hyrule that cannot be ridden.
In Hateno Village, the farmer Dantz needs help controlling the Mountain Deer population of Retsam Forest. If Link speaks to him, he asks Link if he would be willing to do a little deer hunting in the forest to help out resulting in the Deer Hunting mini-game where Link is given a limited amount of time to kill as many Mountain Bucks as he can without leaving the forest. Link is permitted to use Remote Bombs, weapons, and arrows at his disposal to kill them, though Dantz suggests he carry a study bow to make things easier. Each deer he kills is counted after his time runs out. Dantz will pay Link a number of Rupees based on the number of deer killed. Link can also keep any meat dropped by deer and animals killed during the mini-game, though Link must collect them during the game mini-game itself. As this game is timed and the number of mountain bucks and Woodland Boars in the forest make sneaking around difficult, it is best for Link to forgo the stealth approach and just kill as many deer as he can using bow and arrows (to attack fleeing deer) and melee weapons (to attack them if they run close to Link). Spears, Boomerangs, and Magic Rods a ideal melee weapons for hunting. The Master Sword's Sword Beams can also be used to kill deer, giving Link an alternative to arrows. While Remote Bombs can be used, they are slow and can damage Link if he detonates them too close, however Link can use their ability to detonate on command to his advantage to create traps to kill any nearby deer. As a result, this mini-game is a good way for Link to obtain Raw Prime Meat and earn Rupees, as well as a way to test of his hunting skills.
Despite the apparent overpopulation of Mountain Bucks during the mini-game no Mountain Doe appear during the mini-game and oddly no deer appear in Retsam Forest outside the mini-game.
- "These male deer are usually found deep in the forest. They're well known for their huge, branching antlers, which they'll swing in self-defense if threatened. Deer are cautious by nature so it can be tricky getting close, but if you can capture one, you may be able to take it for a ride."
- — Hyrule Compendium
- "These female deer are often found alongside a male. They're very timid animals by nature, but they tend to let their ground done when eating apples, a favorite food. This tidbit of information can be useful to hunters."
- — Hyrule Compendium
- "The largest breed of deer in Hyrule, this mammal's origin was traced back to the Tabantha region. It's easily distinguished by its immense antlers, which these moose shed and regrow yearly. Their meat is tender and high quality, so it works well in a stew."
- — Hyrule Compendium