Stag Tattoo Meaning, Designs & Ideas

A stag tattoo can mean many different things, including strength, dominance, and superiority. Some stag tattoos are related to cultural or religious beliefs, for example, Shintoism, Christianity, or Celtic. Stag tattoos can also be part of a coat of arms that represents a person’s heritage.

In this article, we’ll look at the various symbolisms of stag tattoos.

All About Stags

Stags are adult male deer. There are several different species of deer that live in most parts of the world other than Australia and Antarctica. Stags usually have a red or brown coat. They mostly eat grass, leaves, shrubs, and fruit.

A main characteristic of a stag is its antlers. Stags shed their antlers and grow a new pair each year. Antlers grow back larger every year, so older stags tend to be more dominant and aggressive. Antlers are used for both mate selection and fighting.

Stag Tattoos

Men are much more likely than women to get stag tattoos, which is probably because men are more likely to hunt. The majority of stag tattoos are larger pieces; many are chest or back pieces since these parts of the body allow for large antlers to be illustrated.

Most stag tattoos are done in black and gray ink. Most tattoos of stags show a realistic version of the animal; sometimes, the tattoo will have sky, water, or trees in the background as well. There are also tribal or geometric versions of the stag tattoo. A lot of these tattoos just show the head and antlers but some have the entire body of the animal.


Deer are commonly hunted, both for sport and for their meat which is called venison. In the United States, both mule deer and white-tailed deer are hunted. Most states have regulations about where, when, and how deer can be killed.

A person might get a stag tattoo to show that they participate in hunting as a way of displaying one of their hobbies. Some people also choose to get a tattoo of a stag as they think that this shows respect for the animal that they hunt.

Cycle of Life

Since the stag loses its antlers every year in the fall and regrows them in the spring, this can be seen as an example of the cyclical nature of life. A stag tattoo can be a symbol of some time of cycle in a person’s life or of a renewal or birth.

Someone who appreciates the natural cycles of life, such as the way nature changes with the seasons, might choose a stag tattoo to represent this. A person may also want a stag tattoo to represent some sort of personal journey that they have been on; the antlers are a symbol of their growth and change.

Native American Culture

In some Native American tribes, people believe that the stag has spiritual power. It is also seen as a symbol of gentleness and fertility. A person may get a tattoo of a stag as a way of representing their spiritual beliefs.

Someone who is hoping to have children or struggling with fertility may also choose a stag tattoo; they may see it as a type of good luck charm that will bring forth children. A stag tattoo can also represent a person’s desire to act with more kindness and gentle nature toward others.


The stag represents many things in Buddhism, including peace, harmony, safety, purity, happiness, and a long life. A stag tattoo can be a person’s way of symbolizing their desire for peace in their own life or in the world as a whole. Stag tattoos can also be seen as illustrating someone’s hope that they will live for many years.

Someone may choose a stag tattoo because they are trying to have more happiness and joy in their life; the tattoo can act as a reminder to focus on the positive things in their life. A stag tattoo can also act as a protective element because it represents safety and security.


In Japan, some people who practice Shintoism see the stag, and deer in general, as a sort of spiritual messenger. They believe that the deer can carry messengers from people to the gods. The antlers are a representation of this as they reach upwards toward the heavens.

A person who practices Shintoism or just has an appreciation for this belief system might choose to get a stag tattoo for this reason. Perhaps they are trying to build a greater connection with their spiritual side and the tattoo represents their commitment to this.

Celtic Culture

In the Celtic culture, the stag is a symbol of femininity, gentleness, and grace. A person may choose to get a stag tattoo that represents these elements if they come from a Celtic heritage. Someone who is trying to incorporate a more gentle demeanor or to practice more grace in their life might opt for this tattoo.

Coat of Arms

Animals are a common feature in many coats of arms. The stag appears in various coats of arms from Chile, England, Finland, Germany, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. Some images show just the head and antlers or the stag, while others depict them standing on their hind legs. 

Some people may choose to get the stag tattoo as a way of representing their ancestry instead of having the entire coat of arms done. They may also choose to incorporate other elements, for example, their family name.

Strength and Superiority

Because a stag’s antlers grow larger every year, they are associated with dominance and strength. The older stags have superiority because they have outlived so many of the others. The antlers are also representative of weapons since they use them to fight other stags. 

A person who wants a tattoo that represents strength and power might choose a stag for these options. Since the stags use their antlers to fight each other during mating season, this tattoo can show a person’s virility.

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