Mule deer

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mule deer

Photo by: Lisa Robinson

mule deer Odocileus hemionus

Order Artiodactyla  Pigs, deer, pronghorns, sheep, goat, bison, elk, caribou

  • main axis of foot directly between 3rd and 4th digits
  • ankle bone has both ends rounded
  • premolars simpler than the molars- last molar usually 3-lobed
  • Selected families below are all cud-chewing ruminants with no upper incisors. All have complex 4-chambered stomachs that break down plant cellulose, enabling them to graze or browse for a long period, and then retire away from predators & midday heat for the time-consuming cud-chewing and digestion:

Family Cervidae Elk, moose, caribou, & deer (antlers shed every year; usually only on males)

Habitat: east of the Cascades in WA, OR, and Interior B.C. preferring open forest and shrub-steppe.

Mule deer are browsers – eat the growing tips of trees & shrubs. In late winter, eat grass & herbaceous plants. In winter, prefer bitterbrush over sagebrush. In summer use over 30 species of trees and shrubs

Description: Mule deer have large dark ears. Tail (7-8 inches long) is white, except for a black tip. Largest deer in Pacific NW- Adult bucks up to 250 lbs. Color: summer- tan to light brown; winter- salt-& pepper gray. In Pacific NW, 2 species & 4 subspecies of deer occur.

Range: Mule deer range elevationally long distances during spring and fall to follow food and

Source for Images:

Odocoileus hemionus hemionus mule deer

Males: antlers fork evenly


Odocoileus hemionus hemionus mule deer