Geography – Range There is some competition between the Mute Deer and the livestock on the range, especially in Spring and early Summer. “The mule deer is the only big game species in decline in North America,” said Charlie Stockstill, regional director of the Mule Deer Foundation, a Utah-based conservation organization whose purpose is to ensure the conservation of mule deer, black-tailed deer and their habitat. Behavior The reverse is true in Fall and Winter. Mule deer lack front teeth; they just have a hard palate. Mule Deer are active primarily in mornings and evenings. A doe will usually produce a single fawn the first year she gives birth and then produce twins in following years. Life span in the wild is 10 years, but Mule Deer have lived up to 25 years in captivity . But, due to political opposition to government acquisition of privately owned lands, plus a scarcity of funds for this purpose, only a small fraction of Mule Deer ranges has been acquired by the government. Mule deer can reach 4 1/2 to 7 feet in length and 130 to 280 pounds of weight. Mule Deer have three gaits, all of them stiff-legged. All federal, state, and provincial land and wildlife management agencies recognize the fundamental need to maintain Mule Deer ranges and keep them habitable. Take to public land bow hunting DIY backcountry mule deer. According to the Cosley Zoo, deer coats adapt in two ways. Mule deer have very good night vision and can detect the movement of predators as far away as 600 meters. ©Copyright 2008, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Cautions Two, their coats change colors according to the season, and fawns have spotted coats, allowing the deer to hide on the forest floor. When foraging or moving quietly along they walk with a peculiarly individual movement of the legs, each foot being lifted and set vertically down. Mule Deer are usually a dark gray-brown, with a small white rump patch and a small, black-tipped tail. This inactivity during the heat of the day is a behavioral adaptation to the desert environment that conserves water and keeps the body temperature within livable limits. Mule deer evolved on a relatively similar timeline as humans; they are our familiars but where humans are experts at adaptation the mule deer is a specialist. The studies gave these data for Rocky Mountain mule deer diets: Species: hemionus. Fawns are born in late May or early June. The female deer are smaller than the male. for short periods. Order: Artiodactyla When crossing a ridge or high spot either find a patch of trees or rocks taller than yourself to hide your outline or find a depression or saddle. White-tail deer are tan in color, with a larger tail. This situation invites browsing of sufficient intensity to influence forest regeneration in many areas The tail is usually tipped in black with a white basal portion, and its under parts are white. They do not run as other deer, but have a peculiar and distinctive bounding leap (stotting) over distances up to 8 yards, with all 4 feet coming down together. Mule deer live for 9-11 years in the wild. The greatest threat to the survival of mule deer is the loss of habitat due to human activity, including habitat alteration by agricultural processes, such as cattle grazing. All guests, including members, must reserve tickets in advance. They also are found in mountain forests, wooded hills and in chaparral. Conservation Genus: Odocoileus Food of the Mule Deer is quite varied. Dan Pickar is bowhunting a new area in hopes of turning up a high country velvet buck. However, these trees are browsed heavily by O. hemionus. conclusion. Behavior Seasonal movements involving migrations from higher elevations (summer ranges) to lower winter ranges are associated, in part, with decreasing temperatures, severe snowstorms, and snow depths that reduce mobility and food supply. The Mule Deer is slower and less colorful than the White-tailed Deer, but its pastel, gray-buff color provides a physical adaptation to the desert environment which disguises it from predators like the Cougar, the Coyote and the eagle who will swoop down on a fawn. Breeding If necessary, they can turn or completely reverse direction in the course of a single bound. Mule Deer populations and genetics in Alberta continue to grow and evolve at the cutting edge of North American animal adaptability. Adaptation is a structural or functional change in a living organism that helps it survive. They eat so carefully they can even consume the fruit of cactus. All have slender legs. They are also found in meadows, and grasslands, including alpine meadows, near forest. Males and females mix freely while traveling together in groups during winter months, often down to the desert floor. From April through June, after about a 200-day gestation period, the doe delivers 1 to 4 young (normally 2). Ears During the spring and summer the white-tailed deer’s diet consists of leafy material from a variety of woody plants, grasses, herbs, and forbs. For your safety, our experience has been modified. Sweat glands and panting also provide evaporative cooling during hot periods. Seasonal movements involving migrations from higher elevations (summer ranges) to lower winter ranges are associated, in part, with decreasing temperatures, severe snowstorms, and snow depths that reduce mobility and food supply. Many states have purchased tracts of land in order to maintain the various habitats critical to the deer. Deer have a keen sense of smell, good hearing and good eyesight. Food stored here can be digested later when the deer chews its cud. Spots begin to fade by the end of the first month.. Mule deer is covered with coat that is light brown or reddish-brown during the summer and grey during the winter. A buck will find a suitable doe and they will often play chase games at breakneck speeds before mating. Now you know about the the mule deers habitat, prey, predator, adaptations, and life span. While whitetails rely on their prodigious sense of smell to detect danger, mule deer are more reliant on their keen eyesight and sense of hearing than on their noses, adaptations that have served them well in places where they need to see and hear the approach of predators. During the middle of the day, the Mule Deer beds down in a cool, secluded place. Mule deer are intermediate feeders instead of pure browsers or grazers; This deer eat a variety of vegetation. The antlers split off from the main branch forming two branches, each branch has 2 or more tines. They are particularly fond of blackberry and raspberry vines, grapes, mistletoe, mushrooms and ferns. Injured deer utter a startlingly loud "blatt" or bawl. Deer are not especially vocal, although young fawns bleat on occasion. Another physical adaptation, its larger feet, allows the Mule Deer to claw out water as much as two feet deep, which it detects with its keen sense of smell. Mule Deer are active primarily in mornings, evenings and moonlit nights. Back to top Feeding. One, they are made up of hollow hairs, which insulates them in the cold. The fawn, colored reddish with white spots, weighs about 6 pounds at birth. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. White-tailed deer, the kind found in Massachusetts and across most of the United States, are the widest-ranging ungulate in the Americas, from as far south as Bolivia to as far north as southern Canada. In Utah, an average of 80 percent of a mountain lion’s diet consists of mule deer. The Mule Deer carries its thin, black-tipped tail drooped, unlike the uplifted, bushy white tail of its cousin. Most are brown or gray in color, with white spots characterizing the young, and in a few species, the adults. Mule Deer Conservation. Adaptations These deer adapt to living in the desert by being active during the warm weather at night or during the early morning hours. Adaptation. Relationships of mule deer behavior and physiology to management of shrub-steppe plant communities in the Great Basin of southeastern Oregon are presented for application in land-use planning and habitat management. The North American Deserts Mule deer have behavioral adaptations, too. Mule Deer antlers are normally smaller and branch to form 2 equal forks, while the male White-tailed Deer has forward curving antlers with a number of points (tines) branching from the main beam. In 99 studies of mule deer diets, some 788 species of plants were eaten by mule deer, and their diets vary greatly depending on the season, geographic region, year, and elevation. Mule Deer breed in late November and early December. Mule deer survival is currently being monitored in the East Kootenay, and this data will be used in the analysis. Related Species Most mature bucks in good condition have lost theirs by the end of February; immature bucks generally lose them a little later. Both their watchfulness and their occupancy in wide-open country are indications of their evolution. Throat, ramp and inner part of ears and legs are white. ), The Desert Environment Scientific Classification Kingdom Animalia Phylum Chordata Class Mammalia Order Artiodactyla Family Cervidae Subfamily Capreolinae Genus Odocoileus Species O. hemionus Scientific Name Odocoileus hemionus columbianus Quick Information Also known as Blacktail deer… The coat colors can range from dark brown, grey to light ash-grey and reddish brown (Misuraca 1999). Trail cameras installed in these areas will tell us about other animals (predators, prey and people) that are interacting (competing) with mule deer. Humans, coyote, mountain lion, eagles, bear, wolves, and bobcats. They also have adapted to eating a wide variety of vegetation types in order to meet all of their nutritional needs. The male deer grow antlers during the summer and fall and shed them each spring. All that speciation is opportunists trying to say they discovered a species, when really most of the differences are due to adaptation to climate and habitat… not really genetics. Mule Deer moves between various zones from the forest edges at higher elevations to the desert floor, depending on the season. The bucks' antlers, which start growth in spring and are shed around December each year, are high and branch forward, forking equally into 2 tines with a spread up to 4 feet. If a predator is in pursuit, a mule deer’s zigzag bound increases its likelihood of escape. Tail They have a distinctly different gait from the leisurely, graceful leaps of the white-tail. They have a sense of smell that is 1000 times the accuracy of the human sense of smell. Mule deer can be found throughout desert regions as long as there is enough vegetation to hide in and to eat. Comparisons This inactivity during the heat of the day is a behavioral adaptation to the desert environment that conserves water and keeps the body temperature within livable limits. they can weigh between 130-280 pounds. Mule deer may also contract and/or spread diseases that plague … You can differentiate them from their whitetail cousin by looking at their ears. The availability of browse in forest understory is important for them. At the throat of the black tailed deer there is a white patch of hair (Misuraca 1999). Mule deer will make temporary 'beds' which are usually nothing more than flattened areas of grass or leaves. Mule deer females usually give birth to two fawns, although if it is their first time having a baby they often only have one fawn. Males are larger than females. Also, when traveling at fast speeds, mule deer do not run but instead leap with all four feet at once called "stotting". A friend wrote: Interesting article on Mule Deer “species”. Throughout the entire western United States, including the four deserts of the American Southwest The mating season for Mule Deer reaches its peak in November and December, as antlered stags round up females and fight for their possession. During early weeks of life, the fawn sees its mother only at mealtimes for feeding. Habitat Mule deer have no upper teeth, only a hard palate. Nevertheless, these early and mid-successional habitats that favored mule deer gradually declined in value during the mid- to later 20th century or were replaced by forests or grasslands. The females go off by themselves and eventually give birth and nurse their young; the males wander in friendly twosomes or small bands throughout the summer months as antlers grow. The throat patch, rump patch, inside ears and inside legs are white with lower portions running cream to tan. Masks are required at all times. With its antlers and sharp hooves the male deer can sometimes kill a wolf. Having a keen awareness of danger on ridges is a survival adaptation for all big game, but especially low country mule deer. Mule deer usually live 9-11 years in the wild and can live to be much older when in captivity. Feeding for Mule Deer. A dark V-shaped mark, extending from a point between the eyes upward and laterally is characteristic of all Mule Deer but is more conspicuous in males. Member of this family occupy a wide range of habitats, from arctic tundras to tropical forests, and can be found over most of the world. When antlers start growing again in the spring, the group breaks up. They have white camouflage spots and are further protected by having little or no scent. Mule deer are found throughout the entire western United States. They also have adapted to eating a wide variety of vegetation types in order to meet all of their nutritional needs. Mule deer are a large species of deer that live in North America. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are easy to identify due to their large mule-like ears. A mule deer does not “flag” its tail (like a white-tailed deer), but often bounces away in a motion called “stotting,” in which all four hooves push off the ground at the same time. We’re open! This deer without delay adapt to agricultural product and landscape plantings. The Mule Deer large ear is gray on the outside and white on the inside. Antlers are shed after the breeding season, from mid-January to about mid-April. The Mule Deer, while closely related to the eastern species-the white-tailed deer, are remarkably distinct in their biological, ecological, and behavioral attributes. The mule deer has very large, rounded ears for excellent hearing. They will move to higher elevations during the hottest parts of the summer and move to lower elevations during the winter months. 20th century. ... # Some desert mammals like the mule deer adapt to the harsh climatic conditions by remaining active only during the first few hours of dawn and dusk. The Cervidae Family includes deer and their allies, including moose, elk, and caribou. Also, Hoof and Mouth Disease and other diseases can be transmitted from the Deer to the livestock and vice versa.. There size is usually 3.0- 3.5 feet tall at the shoulder They are 4.5- 7.0 feet long. Black-tailed deer are a member of the mule deer family and found across the Pacific Northwest of North America. 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