The Don Army is one of the first and the most famous of Cossack formations. The history of the Don Cossacks began long before the Moscow State. Under Tsar Ivan the Terrible Cossacks got the Don in perpetuity.
The deer on the emblem of the Don Cossacks goes back to an old legend, which says that in the lower Don they met a white deer, which no one could catch or shoot .
The Deer is the symbol of the Cossack liberty.
Half departing double-headed crowned eagle is a traditional heraldic symbol of the Russian state.
The emblem of the Don Cossack Army is a figured shield divided into two unequal parts. At the head of the shield there is an arising double-headed eagle decorated with three crowns – the main figure of the State Emblem of Russia. On the basic field of the shield there is a walking left silver deer with golden horns and hooves, pierced with a golden arrow.
The escutcheon is interpreted as the Protection of the Virgin.
The white deer is the totem of the Cossacks, and their self-name.
In the biblical tradition a deer is considered a clean animal chewing cud. According to the church interpretation, it is the symbol of the righteous. In general, the deer is considered as a prototype of the Sacrifice and the Passion of Christ The whiteness of the deer is not accidental: white is the color of purity and the voluntariness of the Sacrifice. Its reaction to the shot of the arrow is dispassionate and corresponds with the suffering of Christ on the cross. The arrow represents the Angel of Darkness. The golden horns symbolize the Resurrecting God and the Church confirmed by Him.
So it’s not just an everyday hunting scene, but a deeply coded symbol, calling for understanding of human life.