Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My part of the country is loaded with Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus).  These deer are common out here in the western part of the continent.

They get their name from their big, mule-like ears.

It's only the males, or bucks, that have antlers.  The size and number of tines indicate the animal's age and apparently it's nutritional state as well.  Their antlers branch to form two equal forks.  White-tailed Deer have forward curving antlers with a number of points or tines branching from the main beam.   The antlers may reach a span of 1.5 meters and are shed about December every year.

Mulies don't run with leaping bounds and gallops as do White-Tails.  
They "stot", which is the term for that peculiar stiff-legged, all four feet hitting the ground together, thing they do.  One of these bounces covers almost 3 meters and they can reach speeds of 70 kmh/45 mph for short periods

I hoped this doe would get into the stotting gait, but she didn't so here's a shot of her north end as she was heading south.

The tracks will vary from a rough "V-shape" while running to a straight line with slower speeds.  The hoof print may be described as two paisley shapes facing one another with smaller "dots" of the dew claws at the wider end of these paisleys.

Mule deer tracks are virtually the same as White-tail tracks in shape.  The White-tails tend to drag a hoof, leaving a little furrow.   Tracks info from

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