Mule Deer - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mule Deer - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mule Deer - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Mule Deer - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image 
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Mule Deer
Odocoileus hemionus

Hoofed Animals
Deer Family (Cervidae)

Measurement: Size: 140-180 cm/90-110 cm at the shoulder Weight: 90-115 kg

Description: Our most common mountain deer, mule deer have a tawny coat with a light underside and rump. They usually have a light nose with a black tip.

They are often confused with the white-tail deer, but their large ears help to distinguish the two species. Also, despite the name, white-tail deer actually have a brown tail (it is white underneath). Mule deer, on the other hand, DO have a white tail, which is tipped with black. Their antlers are also very different. The antlers of mule deer begin with a single branch or tine. This will fork to create a y-junction. Each fork of the "y" may also branch to form an additional y-junction, and so on. White-tail deer antlers begin with a single tine off of which numerous branches emerge.

Mule deer also have a bounding gait, with long leaps exceeding 6 m (20 feet) in length.

Range: This western deer is found throughout the Canadian and American Rockies. It is the principal mountain deer, and is much more common in the high country than the white-tail.

Diet: Mule deer eat a wide variety of grasses, forbs and leaves. Near summers end, leaves form a principal food source, with the diet moving to twigs , buds and branches. Lichens may be eaten.

Mule deer must be constantly vigilant for cougar, wolves, black and grizzly bears and even lynx (which may take newborn fawns). Their large mule-like ears act like parabolic microphones, enabling the deer to hear almost anything occurring in the immediate area.

Reproduction: The mating season takes place in the autumn, and the males begin to exhibit an increased interest in the does, and a matching distaste for the other bulls in the area. They will spar with the other males, often resorting to antler-linked shoving matches. Successful bulls will mate with as many females as possible, determining their reproductive state by smelling the ground where the females have urinated. After mating, they move onto the next doe. The fawns emerge in the spring, like other deer, and the spotted fawns are kept well hidden for a few days until they get their legs. The doe will hide them in the bushes, and wander nearby to feed, returning regularly to nurse.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005

 

 

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