By far the most common large animal in North America is the whitetail deer. Now a regular sight in all but five U.S. states, the whitetail was surprisingly once much less numerous. Due to overhunting and deforestation, whitetail deer only numbered about 300,000 in the 1930s. Since then, large-scale conservation efforts and strict hunting regulations have seen whitetail populations soar to a current estimate of 30 million in the United States alone.
Another reason whitetails thrive is because they have few natural predators. Large carnivores such as gray wolves and mountain lions have been forced into extinction in the eastern United States, and the remaining coyotes, bobcats and lynxes are too small to prey on adult deer. The only current means of whitetail population control is their popularity as a game animal.