These animals are part of the deer family, or Cervidae, which includes deer, elk, moose and wapiti. Like others in their family, reindeers have long legs, hooves and antlers.
Reindeer are also called caribou, depending on their location.A reindeer’s coat is usually a bit darker in summer and lighter in winter. Reindeer have two coat layers: an undercoat of fine, soft wool that stays right next to their skin, and a top layer of long, hollow guard hairs. The air trapped inside the guard hairs holds in body heat to keep the animal warm against wind and cold. The hollow hairs also help the reindeer float, allowing it to swim across a river, if needed. They also frequently sport large antlers, and, generally speaking, larger and older deer have larger and heavier antlers.

Their noses are specially adapted to warm the air they breathe before it enters their lungs and to condense water in the air, which they then use to keep their mucous membranes moist. Their fur traps air, which not only helps provide them with excellent insulation, but also keeps them buoyant in water, which is critical being as how they often travel across massive rivers and lakes while migrating.

Even their hooves are special. In the summer, when the ground is wet, their foot pads are softened, providing them with extra traction. In the winter, though, the pads tighten, revealing the rim of their hooves, which is used to provide traction in the slippery snow and ice.


Length: male 1.8 – 2.1 m; female – 1.7 – 1.9 m.
Weight: male – 65 – 240 kg; female – 55 – 140 kg.



Reindeer are very social creatures. They feed, travel and rest in groups called herds. These herds can include from 10 animals to a few hundred. In the spring, herds can get even bigger — from 50,000 to 500,000 members. The herds often travel south around 1,000 miles (1,600 km) to 3,000 m (5,000 km) to find food in the winter.

Reindeer are herbivores, which means they only eat vegetation. Their diet can include herbs, ferns, mosses, grasses, shoots, fungi and leaves. On average, an adult reindeer eats around 9 to 18 lbs. (4 to 8 kg) of vegetation a day.

In the winter, reindeer must dig through the snow to find food. They dig using their antlers and munch on energy-packed lichens called reindeer moss.


While these animals are found across the globe in polar regions, they are found in generally one of two types of habitats. Some inhabit vast, open tundra, while others live along the edges and amongst forests. The only forests found in these areas are boreal forests, also known as “taiga,” or “snow” forests.

Methods of hunting permitted for use:


  • stalking,
  • using wheel transport,
  • ambush hunting,
  • corralling,
  • using dogs of hunting breeds,
  • using water transport

Permitted hunting tools:

Hunting firearm with a rifled barrel of caliber not less than 5 mm (but not more than 10 mm) and a seating distance of at least 39 mm (using a caliber of 5.6 mm for a rim-fire cartridge is permitted only for hunting musk deer); hunting fire smooth-bore long-barreled arms, including threaded length no more than 140 mm (only using bullet cartridges); hunting firearm combined weapons (smooth-bore and rifted gun), including with rebarreling and auxiliary rifled barrels; cold bladed hunting weapon. It is allowed to hunt for roe deer, musk deer and fallow deer using buck shot.

These antlers fall off and regrow every year. A male’s can grow up to 51 inches (130 centimeters) long and weigh up to 33 lbs. (15 kg), making them very useful for fighting. A female’s antlers can grow up to 20 inches (50 cm).
During certain times of year, you can still tell the sex of a reindeer by checking for antlers. That’s because males lose their antlers in winter or spring, but females shed theirs in the summer.