30 Cool Deer Skull Tattoo Design Ideas for Inspiration

Life is filled with constant struggle and hurdle. But, we shall always overcome.  Deer skull tattoos have become symbolic of this – as well as strength and power.

Looking to close a painful chapter of your life and ready to begin a new one? Then this is an article you ought to read.

Each artist is given due credit, so if you want to check out more of their work or message them directly, their names and Instagram accounts are all there.

Towards the end, I’ll also answer some FAQs and talk about the symbolism associated with deer skulls. So keep reading!

Deer Skull Tattoo Design Ideas

Deer Skull Tattoo with Flowers

Having a deer skull matched with flowers is a great way to show contrasting ideas: life and death.

Over many centuries, and across many cultures, flowers are highly symbolic. 

They represent a variety of ideas, ranging from love, purity, chastity, and life. 

Depending on what flower you choose to pair with your deer skull tattoo, the message your tattoo is trying to convey will also vary. 

The flowers also add a layer of softness and beauty to the rather foreboding look of the deer skull. 

Regardless, flowers have always been a popular motif to add to deer skull tattoos. 

by Ally Rae (@araecat.tattoo on Instagram).

by Tailor Bird Tattoo (@tailorbirdtattoo on Instagram).

by Gianna Caranfa (@giannacaranfa_tattoo on Instagram).

by Tesia Coil (@tesiacoil_tattoos on Instagram).

by EK Tattoo Studio (@ek.tattoo on Instagram).

by Rose City Tattoo (@rosecitytattoo on Instagram).

by Jam Rose (@jamrosetattoos on Instagram).

artist unknown.

Deer Skull Tattoo with Spider Webs

Looking to accentuate the fierceness and grotesque nature of the deer skull? Then spider webs will be a better option than flowers.

The spider webs further emphasize the idea of doom. This is a great addition to deer skull tattoos to make them look truly badass.

by Skully Tattoos (@skully_tattoos on Instagram).

by Anthea (@anthea_tatt on Instagram).

by Marcel Finster (@marcel.finster on Instagram).

by Sierra Jacobs (@Sierra_Jacobs on Instagram).

artist unknown.

Deer Skull Tattoo with Living Animals

Like the idea of having contrasting ideas and images on your tattoo? How about pairing the deer skull with a living creature.

This literal juxtaposition further emphasizes the brevity of life. And, it serves as a great reminder that time is short – and to live life to the fullest. 

by Qulock Nimmons (@qulock_ on Instagram).

by Elisabet Waris (@elisabetwaris on Instagram).

by Joe Klemkow (@jklemkow on Instagram).

artist unknown.

artist unknown.

Deer Skull Tattoo with Mushrooms

As deer skull tattoos are symbolic of the cyclic nature of life, mushrooms are great additions to the design. 

Mushroom not only represents rapid growth, but they also symbolize nature’s natural recycling – where dead mater is broken down in return of giving birth to something new.

by L’Encromancienne (@l.encromancienne on Instagram).

by Jo Warren (@jojo.tattoos on Instagram).

by Black Bird Dot Work (@blackbirddotwork on Instagram).

Deer Skull Tattoo with Cacti

Another symbolism associated with deer skulls is protection. Some tattoo enthusiasts believe that having a deer skull tattoo brings protection to the person who has it. 

Native American cultures believe that cacti are also the same. 

They represent warmth, protection and motherly love. This idea derives from the fact that cacti are able to survive in rather harsh conditions. They also have medicinal properties.

by Jarom (@jarom.tattooer on Instagram).

by Laura Marshall  (@leechinghippietattoo on Instagram).

Deer Skull Tattoo on Its Own

Regardless of the design that you choose for your deer skull tattoo, it will always look great. 

Inherently, the deer skull has an alluring and cool look to it.

Even if you decide to simply have a deer skull, you will be granted aesthetically-pleasing results.

by Mark Li (@anymarkli on Instagram).

by Alexis Ledbetter (@artaffliction on Instagram).

by Brett Witte (@thewitte1 on Instagram).

by Edgar Guardiola (@3dgarguardiola on Instagram).

artist unknown.

artist unknown.

artist unknown.

What makes the deer such a special animal?

Deer skull tattoos have become quite popular. For some, they get one as a sign of respect and admiration for these graceful animals.

Hunters get deer skull tattoos to show respect to the deer that they caught and slaughtered in return for nourishing their bodies. 

In the sections below, I will be mentioning the significance of deer in different cultures.

In Christianity

For practitioners of Christianity, the deer has become known to be a symbol of loyalty and devotion. It also symbolizes God’s love and cares for humanity.

Saint Eustace was a Roman general before his veneration as a saint. Legend has it that during one of his hunts, he encountered an enormous and magnificent deer.

As he gazed upon the creature’s eyes, he saw the light of Christ shine out of them. At the same time, he hears the voice of God speaking to him through the deer’s eyes.

He then gives up hunting, and converts to Christianity.

In Celtic Tradition

There were two aspects in the deer – its feminine and masculine side.

This feminine side emerged from its gentleness and grace when it trots across fields.

It is believed that the deer were calling to men, using their femininity, to free them from being trapped on the earthly world and to transport them to a world of magic. Then, they would eventually transform to their true human form: as women.

On the other hand, its masculine side emerged from the forests. They were seen as kings of the forest who protected all other creatures within their domain.

They also symbolized independence, purification, and pride. The deer skull tattoo is great if you hold and value similar ideas. 

In Native America

The deer was seen as a messenger – and an animal of power. It also represented sensitivity, intuition and gracefulness.

It also represented fertility.

A Cherokee legend speaks of how the deer got its antlers. 

According to the legend, the animals of the forest wanted to identify which animal between the deer and the rabbit was the fastest.

In an effort to outrun the deer, the rabbit had cheated resulting in its lose. As a result, the deer was awarded with its antlers. 

Deer Skull Tattoo FAQs

Why should you get a deer skull tattoo?

Deer skull tattoos don’t only look cool, but they also hold significant meanings and representations depending on the design that you go for.

They are a great reminder of renewal and rebirth. 

There may be situations in our lives where feelings desperation and despair, but we must reminder that life continues. After all the negativity and pain comes better times.

What style should my deer skull be in?

Many people choose to have their deer skull tattoos without color as there is an edginess to them.

If you’ve got a tattoo artist that is an expert of linework, perspective and shading, then your deer skull tattoo will come out great.

Where should I place my deer skull tattoo?

The most popular places to get deer skull tattoos are on the arms, legs and back.

Men usually have them on their legs or back, while women choose to place them on their backs.

A forward-facing deer skull tattoo with antlers look best in places which accentuate symmetry such as the back.

Profile tattoos of the deer skull will look best on the arms and legs.

Will it hurt?

  • Size & complexity of the design
  • Tattoo placement
  • Pain tolerance
  • Experience

Pain intensity varies wildly between each person. What might hurt for you might not hurt at all for someone else.

So before you go get your tattoo, go over the following points.

Size & complexity of design

A major factor that dictates how bad your tattoo will hurt is how big it is and how complex the details are.

The reason for this is because bigger and more complex tattoos take much longer to finish. If you have a particularly big and complex design, it could take several sessions to complete, meaning more pain.

Now when you get a tattoo, your body will be in constant pain. The tattoo machine repeatedly pierces and injects ink into your skin, and you will feel a slightly painful scratching sensation. This is normal. 

The body adjusts to this pain by releasing adrenaline and endorphins. During this rush, you’ll feel the pain start to numb out and you’ll feel much less stressed.

The thing is, the rush only lasts about 30 minutes. 

Deer skull tattoos are usually small. Or, relatively simple. In this case, you may not outlast the rush and the pain will be bearable. However, there are other factors that will affect the amount of pain you will experience.

Just remember to get a design that’s appropriate for your tolerance for pain. Too much pain can get in the way of both you and your artist.

  • Tattoo placement

Another factor that affects the intensity of pain you’ll experience is where you’ll place your tattoo.

People normally choose to have their deer skull tattoos in locations that are visible such as the arms and the legs, or in areas with a larger surface area to work on such as the chest or the back.

The upper arm and the thighs which have a hefty enough amount of fat and muscle to dampen the impact of the tattoo needle.

For back and chest, you can expect a spike in pain intensity when the tattoo artist begins to work on areas with less fat and muscle such as the collar bone or the shoulder blade.

If you’ve got a low pain tolerance, then you might have to ask the tattoo artist to take it easy on those areas.

For a comprehensive discussion on which body parts hurt most when getting tattooed, check out this article by Healthline on tattoo pain.

  • Pain tolerance

Some people have naturally low pain tolerances. This could be caused by a skin condition, thin skin, or recent emotional trauma. Pain tolerances vary from person to person, so it’s a good idea to figure out how well you fare before booking an appointment.

But if you’re already committed to getting your tattoo, here are a few actionable ways to mitigate the pain:

  • Get enough sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep before getting your tattoo, you’ll hinder your body’s natural healing process. (Important!)
  • Stay sober. If you drink before getting your tattoo, get ready for some pain. Alcohol is classified as a blood thinner. When your blood thins, it’s more prone to bleeding and bruising. (Important!)
  • Stay hydrated. Drink enough water before getting your tattoo. It’ll help your skin stay supple throughout the session. It’ll also help your tattoo heal faster after your session.
  • Moisturize. Hydrating your skin doesn’t just mean drinking plenty of water. You should also take the liberty of applying moisturizer to keep your skin nice and hydrated from the outside.
  • Take breaks. There will be moments in your tattoo session where the pain will just be too much to handle. This is normal. When this happens, feel free to ask your artist for a short break.
  • Experience

According to research, a person’s pain tolerance is directly affected by their experience with tattoos. This means that if you’ve had tattoos done in the past, you’ll likely feel less pain.


Though the deer skull tattoo is a relatively new trend, there is no doubt that they hold significant value. 

The messages we can infer from them are great reminders of how life is never constant. It reminds us that though we face hard times, they don’t last forever.

They also represent a great strength that comes from within. If you’re ready to realize your innermost strength, then your next tattoo should be of a deer skull.

Did you enjoy these deer skull tattoo designs or are you looking for more inspiration? Check out the following links to see more designs from talented artists.