Getting to Know the Mule Deer

Though mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are relatively well known in North America, this is a North American species so people living in countries other than Canada, United States and Mexico might be unacquainted with the animal. It is a deer that mostly lives in the western part of North America, so people in the east may also not know this species, though they may have seen many white tailed deer, which are related. General characteristics of mule deer Fully grown, this is often a large animal. It can get nearly four feet tall at the shoulder, nearly seven feet long from the snout to the tail and may weigh as much as 325 pounds, with large bucks sometimes exceeding this. The color varies from rich brown in the summer to grayish brown in the winter. The underside is pale and both the does (females) and bucks (males) have light throat and rump patches. The tail is white except for a black tip. Mule deer are named for their ears, which are large like those of a mule. Only the bucks have antlers, which are not true horns and are shed every year. Unlike white tails, which have antler tines that stem upward from the forward facing central tine, a mule deer has antlers that branch directly upward, first outward and then inward, and it isn’t uncommon for the smaller tines to have even more tines. Mule deer behavior Mule deer have a separation of the sexes during most of the Continue Reading →


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