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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. To counter the trend of agricultural development, rangeland conversion, mining, road and highway construction, and the development of housing tracts, many states and provinces have purchased critical areas, especially winter ranges, to maintain the various habitats of Mule Deer. The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is a deer species native to western North America. Mule deer differ from white-tailed deer in many respects, including their general behavior, food habits, population dynamics and habitat preferences. Behavior Does may mate with more than one buck and go back into estrus within a month if they did not become pregnant. Geography – Range Good trees include pears, apples, crab apples, persimmons, aspen, chestnuts, white oaks and red oaks, ash, aspen, maple, popular, willow, white … The mating season for Mule Deer reaches its peak in November and December, as antlered stags round up females and fight for their possession. The deer’s scientific name reflects one of the animal’s most recognizable features – its large ears. When antlers start growing again in the spring, the group breaks up. The reverse is true in Fall and Winter. The North American Deserts Mule deer are concentrate feeders; that is, they carefully select highly nutritious bits of forage. Mule deer and black-tailed deer (collectively called mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus) are icons of the American West. Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are easy to identify due to their large mule-like ears. This parasitic disease is usually indicative of such predisposing factors as high Mule Deer density and malnutrition. BEHAVIOR - Mule deer behavior may also be negatively affected by winter-feeding efforts. When startled, a Mule Deer will move in a series of stiff-legged jumps with all four feet hitting the ground together. They have white camouflage spots and are further protected by having little or no scent. The gestation period is about 190–200 days, with fawns born in the spring. Feed AntlerMax® Mule Deer 16 deer feed free-choice with adequate forage or quality hay. Total body fat is a measure of the individual's energy reserves, while thyroid hormone concentrations are a metric to determine the deer's ability to use the fat reserves. 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. Also, Hoof and Mouth Disease and other diseases can be transmitted from the Deer to the livestock and vice versa.. ), The Desert Environment Planting food plots is an effective, safe, and legal way to support local deer populations. Groups are smallest during fawning season (June and July in Saskatchewan and Alberta) and largest in early gestation (winter; February and March in Saskatchewan and Alberta). They have a distinctly different gait from the leisurely, graceful leaps of the white-tail. [15] The survival rate of the fawns during labor is about 50%. The first group includes all subspecies, except O. h. columbianus and O. h. sitkensis, which are in the black-tailed deer group. The 243 acres of cropland on the property provides a steady annual income source and excellent food sources for the deer. Each spring, a buck's antlers start to regrow almost immediately after the old antlers are shed. [17][29], Mule deer are ruminants, meaning they employ a nutrient acquisition strategy of fermenting plant material before digesting it. [9] This may be the result of introgression, although hybrids between the mule deer and white-tailed deer are rare in the wild (apparently more common locally in West Texas), and the hybrid survival rate is low even in captivity. Injured deer utter a startlingly loud "blatt" or bawl. Consult the feed tag on this package for specific feeding directions. Supplemental feeding efforts might be appropriate when carefully conducted under limited circumstances, but to be successful, the feeding must begin early in the severe winter (before poor range conditions and severe weather cause malnourishment or starvation) and must be continued until range conditions can support the herd. That’s right, it is the correct feed for this time of year. crowding) is about seven. In all but one genus of cervids, at least the males have antlers. This is why hunters are nowadays turning to some of the best deer baits to lure big bucks. Spots begin to fade by the end of the first month.. Mule deer antlers are bifurcated; they "fork" as they grow, rather than branching from a single main beam, as is the case with white-taileds. Fawns are born in late May or early June. They are particularly fond of blackberry and raspberry vines, grapes, mistletoe, mushrooms and ferns. Mule deer are known as browsers. In Spring and Summer it feeds on green leaves, herbs, weeds and grasses more than on browse species. This water well provides a very dependable water source year-round and is used by the mule deer on a daily basis. Studies from Specimen Mountain in the park indicated shrubs comprised 73 percent of the animal's diet, with broad-leafed herbs an additional 26 percent. Ears They eat so carefully they can even consume the fruit of cactus. Ambush locations for mule deer are near water sources, travel routes leading to food patches, and the food patches. Ambush hunting for bowhunting mule deer is a little challenging as it requires you to be in close range. Due to extremely good mule deer habitat with plenty of food and sound management practices by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the state has the largest mule deer population in the country. The Mule Deer, while closely related to the eastern species-the white-tailed deer, are remarkably distinct in their biological, ecological, and behavioral attributes. 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. The sides of mountains and ridges have a lot of food that mule deer like to eat. Breeding These groups must have plenty of space to roam, and a variety of different plants to browse on. There are deer tracks all over the fields! More big bucks are killed here every year than in any other state. Colorado is widely regarded as the nation’s top mule deer destination. Browsing of other trees is seldom considered an economic problem. 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. Mule Deer moves between various zones from the forest edges at higher elevations to the desert floor, depending on the season. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. [27][28] Reported mean group size measurements are three to five and typical group size (i.e. Zoos have never kept some subspecies, while they more commonly keep others. Throughout the entire western United States, including the four deserts of the American Southwest Feed to deer, elk and exotic deer as a supplement to native habitat or pasture. Bobcats, Canada lynx, wolverines, American black bears, and grizzly bears may prey upon adult deer, but most often only attack fawns or infirm specimens, or eat a deer after it has died naturally. Mule deer are commonly seen browsing in open, shrubby areas between dusk and dawn. [15], A buck's antlers fall off during the winter, then grow again in preparation for the next season's rut. Shedding typically takes place in mid-February, with variations occurring by locale. [14], In addition to movements related to available shelter and food, the breeding cycle is important in understanding deer behavior. 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. Cautions starving mule deer are fed alfalfa hay, corn, or other traditional livestock feeds. [5][35] Additionally, the validity of O. h. inyoensis has been questioned, and the two insular O. h. cerrosensis and O. h. sheldoni may be synonyms of O. h. eremicus or O. h. Mule Deer are usually a dark gray-brown, with a small white rump patch and a small, black-tipped tail. Mule Deer have a very wide distribution out there. These studies confirm that mule deer feed primarily on woody plants including browse (leaves and twigs) and mast (fruit, beans and berries). Bucks average about 250 pounds and develop antlers that grow in a branching pattern. [30] Because some of the subspecies of mule deer are migratory, they encounter variable habitats and forage quality throughout the year. During the middle of the day, the Mule Deer beds down in a cool, secluded place. Diet and behavior. [25] Where available, mule deer also eat a variety of wild mushrooms, which are most abundant in late summer and fall in the southern Rocky Mountains; mushrooms provide moisture, protein, phosphorus, and potassium. Mule deer are the largest of the five types of deer (mule, whitetail, Columbia blacktail, Sitka blacktail, and Couses') in North America. All have slender legs. … Food & Hunting The Cervidae Family includes deer and their allies, including moose, elk, and caribou. Vocalization They seem to like the arid climate and to live where a variety of different plants are offered as a source of food. Adult bucks normally weigh 55–150 kg (121–331 lb), averaging around 92 kg (203 lb), although trophy specimens may weigh up to 210 kg (460 lb). In many cases, body size is also a key difference. Typical mule deer ambush locations are food patches, travel routes leading to food patches, and, in dry climates, water sources. Tips For Spotting & Hunting Mule Deer. In fact, they seem to be able to live just about anywhere as long as they have food, shelter, and access to water. Deep snows ultimately limit useable range to a fraction of the total. A doe will usually produce a single fawn the first year she gives birth and then produce twins in following years. [34], The 10 valid subspecies, based on the third edition of Mammal Species of the World, are:[5], Game animals and shooting in North America, "Tails with a Dark Side: The truth about whitetail–mule deer hybrids", "North American Deer: Mule, Whitetail and Coastal Blacktail Deer", "Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus (Rafinesque)", "Sitka Black-tailed Deer Hunting Information", "DWR Biologists Use Helicopter Rides, Ultrasound, To Check on Deer Pregnancies", "Infectious Disease and Grouping Patterns in Mule Deer", "Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) Fact Sheet", "Lichens in relation to management issues in the Sierra Nevada national parks", Mule Deer: Changing Landscapes, Changing Perspectives: Supplemental Feeding—Just Say No, "Causes and consequences of sociality in mule deer", "Comparing radio-tracking and visual detection methods to quantify group size measures", "Herbivore Body Condition Response in Altered Environments: Mule Deer and Habitat Management", "Status of the name Odocoileus hemionus crooki (Mammalia: Cervidae)", Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, Encyclopedia of Life page on the mule deer, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mule_deer&oldid=998764462, Fauna of the California chaparral and woodlands, Taxa named by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 January 2021, at 22:56. 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. Despite a serious overpopulation of deer on the North Kaibab in the 1920s, Mule deer numbers appeared to decline in the rest of the state. The studies gave these data for Rocky Mountain mule deer diets: 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. They are particularly fond of blackberry and raspberry vines, grapes, mistletoe, mushrooms and ferns. From late spring to early fall, they gain weight and build fat reserves by feeding heavily on broad-leafed plants and grasses. In 1929, the mule deer season was closed south of the Gila River, and even as recently as 1946, fewer than 5,000 mule deer (more than 80 percent of all deer killed) were harvested in Arizona. The mule deer's tail is black-tipped, whereas the white-tailed deer's is not. [15][17], The size of mule deer groups follows a marked seasonal pattern. Mule Deer breed in late November and early December. For example, heavy amounts of gastrointestinal nematodes may cause death in Mule Deer. Mule Deer have large ears that move constantly and independently, from whence they get their name, "Mule" or "Burro Deer." [11], 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. Generally, the California mule deer has a preference for hill terrain, especially an oak woodland habitat. Behaviors important to mule Rumination time also increases when deer consume high-fiber, low-starch diets, which allows for increased nutrient acquisition due to greater length of fermentation. Really are class: Mammalia Order: Artiodactyla Family: Cervidae Sub Family: Capreolinae:... 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