Feed to deer, elk and exotic deer as a supplement to native habitat or pasture. The habitat varies largely due to the massive range of mule deer across western North … Zoos have never kept some subspecies, while they more commonly keep others. Hemionus means half-mule. Ambush locations for mule deer are near water sources, travel routes leading to food patches, and the food patches. Also, Hoof and Mouth Disease and other diseases can be transmitted from the Deer to the livestock and vice versa.. Generally, the California mule deer has a preference for hill terrain, especially an oak woodland habitat. Comparisons The mule deer's tail is black-tipped, whereas the white-tailed deer's is not. 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. crowding) is about seven. The male deer grow antlers during the summer and fall and shed them each spring. No matter where you are hunting, high country or western plains…it is all the same. Does (female deer) are smaller and typically weigh from 43 to 90 kg (95 to 198 lb), with an average of around 68 kg (150 lb). The first group includes all subspecies, except O. h. columbianus and O. h. sitkensis, which are in the black-tailed deer group. In all but one genus of cervids, at least the males have antlers. [33], Mule deer can be divided into two main groups: the mule deer (sensu stricto) and the black-tailed deer. (It's Free. [15], A buck's antlers fall off during the winter, then grow again in preparation for the next season's rut. They have white camouflage spots and are further protected by having little or no scent. Fawns usually stay with the doe for the first full year. 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. 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. mule deer diets in the United States. These studies confirm that mule deer feed primarily on woody plants including browse (leaves and twigs) and mast (fruit, beans and berries). Quiz time, what food source consists more than 60% of a whitetail’s diet right now? Injured deer utter a startlingly loud "blatt" or bawl. Learn more Males and females mix freely while traveling together in groups during winter months, often down to the desert floor. The Best Deer Feed for Winter. [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. During the summer, the coat on its upper body is yellow- or reddish-brown, while in winter more gray. Mule Deer breed in late November and early December. Most are brown or gray in color, with white spots characterizing the young, and in a few species, the adults. When startled, a Mule Deer will move in a series of stiff-legged jumps with all four feet hitting the ground together. BEHAVIOR - Mule deer behavior may also be negatively affected by winter-feeding efforts. This stocky deer with sturdy legs is 4 to 6-1/2 feet in length and 3 to 3-1/2 feet high at the shoulder. Mule Deer in the arid southwest may migrate in response to rainfall patterns. There are 2 major subspecies: the Mule Deer, with tail white above, tipped with black; and the Black-tailed Deer, with tail black or brown above. 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. California mule deer usually … They eat so carefully they can even consume the fruit of cactus. Two subspecies of mule deer are grouped into the black-tailed deer. [8][9] Many claims of observations of wild hybrids are not legitimate, as identification based on external features is complicated. Mule deer like to feed in the early morning and late evening. Rumination time also increases when deer consume high-fiber, low-starch diets, which allows for increased nutrient acquisition due to greater length of fermentation. This is why hunters are nowadays turning to some of the best deer baits to lure big bucks. All federal, state, and provincial land and wildlife management agencies recognize the fundamental need to maintain Mule Deer ranges and keep them habitable. Family: Cervidae Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine are of major economic importance for commercial timber. Colorado is widely regarded as the nation’s top mule deer destination. [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 moves between various zones from the forest edges at higher elevations to the desert floor, depending on the season. for short periods. [30] Because some of the subspecies of mule deer are migratory, they encounter variable habitats and forage quality throughout the year. This parasitic disease is usually indicative of such predisposing factors as high Mule Deer density and malnutrition. [9] Despite this, the mtDNA of the white-tailed deer and mule deer is similar, but differs from that of the black-tailed deer. The high protein content aids top performance to support antler development in bucks and reproductive success in does. The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is a deer indigenous to western North America; it is named for its ears, which are large like those of the mule. Changes in hormone levels are indications of physiological adjustments to the changes in the habitat. Mule deer are concentrate feeders; that is, they carefully select highly nutritious bits of forage. The hunters who have planted BioLogic are reporting good success with feeding different types of deer. Feed AntlerMax® Mule Deer 16 deer feed free-choice with adequate forage or quality hay. [1][5][6][7][9][34] Mule deer apparently evolved from the black-tailed deer. The "rut" or mating season usually begins in the fall as does go into estrus for a period of a few days and males become more aggressive, competing for mates. Species: hemionus. Planting food plots is an effective, safe, and legal way to support local deer populations. What does the mule deer eat? [18][25], Humans sometimes engage in supplemental feeding efforts in severe winters in an attempt to avoid mule deer starvation. If necessary, they can turn or completely reverse direction in the course of a single bound. Deer kill about 150-170 people each year, from car accidents, and because people underestimate how dangerous they really are. Wildlife agencies discourage such efforts, which cause harm to mule deer populations by spreading disease (such as tuberculosis and chronic wasting disease) when deer congregate for feed, disrupting migratory patterns, causing overpopulation of local mule deer populations, and cause habitat destruction overbrowsing of shrubs and forbs. Unfortunately, range management professionals have seen a common problem across many of Utah's sagebrush rangelands — they are suffering from the ecological equivalents of old age and malnutrition. 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 is a target for various viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases. A doe will usually produce a single fawn the first year she gives birth and then produce twins in following years. 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, on the other hand, spend their summers in the mountain tops and winters in the valleys, chasing the best food available, and warmth at lower elevations during the winter. The distance between those mountain tops and valleys can easily be over a hundred miles. Mule Deer Care. They are brownish-gray in color, have a white rump patch and a small white tail with a black tip. This water well provides a very dependable water source year-round and is used by the mule deer on a daily basis. 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. This gait offers two advantages: it allows the deer to out-distance predators in rough terrain, and to see above the thick brush. There is some competition between the Mute Deer and the livestock on the range, especially in Spring and early Summer. 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. Consult the feed tag on this package for specific feeding directions. Mule Deer are browsers and eat a great variety of vegetable matter, including fresh green leaves, twigs, lower branches of trees, and various grasses. Mule deer prefer open grasslands and perk-lands, or forest edge ecosystems. The Cervidae Family includes deer and their allies, including moose, elk, and caribou. The most noticeable differences between white-tailed and mule deer are ear size, tail color, and antler configuration. Bucks average about 250 pounds and develop antlers that grow in a branching pattern. Shedding typically takes place in mid-February, with variations occurring by locale. The sides of mountains and ridges have a lot of food that mule deer like to eat. 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. [27][28] Reported mean group size measurements are three to five and typical group size (i.e. These mixes can typically be found at feed mills or pet supply stores. But even with all these gear, taking down a deer is easier said than done. Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are easy to identify due to their large mule-like ears. [16] Fawns stay with their mothers during the summer and are weaned in the fall after about 60–75 days. The mule deer is the larger of the two Odocoileus species on average, with a height of 80–106 cm (31–42 in) at the shoulders and a nose-to-tail length ranging from 1.2 to 2.1 m (3.9 to 6.9 ft). [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 average gross energy content of the consumed forage material is 4.5 kcal/g. Mule deer have also been introduced to Argentina and Kauai, Hawaii.[5]. The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is a deer species native to western North America. Bears and smaller-sized carnivores are typically opportunistic feeders, and pose little threat to a strong, healthy mule deer. Its leaves contain higher protein levels than other available shrubs and grasses. Tail The idea is to locate a patch of food that attracts mule deer and set up an ambush spot within rifle range. That’s right, it is the correct feed for this time of year. As the food sources dry up, mule deer are easier to find due to the lack of green vegetation holding them in specific areas. Throughout the entire western United States, including the four deserts of the American Southwest peninsulae. Sub Family: Capreolinae In fact, they seem to be able to live just about anywhere as long as they have food, shelter, and access to water. The North American Deserts The annual cycle of antler growth is regulated by changes in the length of the day. [18] The studies[19] gave these data for Rocky Mountain mule deer diets:[20], The diets of mule deer are very similar to those of white-tailed deer in areas where they coexist. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. Mule deer differ from white-tailed deer in many respects, including their general behavior, food habits, population dynamics and habitat preferences. [31] Forages consumed in the summer are higher in digestible components (i.e. For example, heavy amounts of gastrointestinal nematodes may cause death in Mule Deer. 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 mature buck seems to prefer rocky ridges for bedding grounds, while the doe and fawn is more likely to bed down in the open. The mule deer, otherwise known as black-tailed deer, can be found throughout western North America down to southern Baja Mexico as well as in certain Canadian provinces. Ambush hunting for bowhunting mule deer is a little challenging as it requires you to be in close range. Mule deer travel more than whitetails do, but the muleys still like something green to eat. Purchase formulated deer food mixes. … We included plant species in our summary if 2 1 study reported their contribution to the diet as 2 … Sweat glands and panting also provide evaporative cooling during hot periods. [5] The two main groups have been treated as separate species, but they hybridize, and virtually all recent authorities treat the mule deer and black-tailed deer as conspecific. Deer are not especially vocal, although young fawns bleat on occasion. The Mule Deer large ear is gray on the outside and white on the inside. 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. This type of food is easiest for deer to digest, which is what makes it ideal for supplemental feeding. Sagebrush is a critical food source for mule deer, especially during winter. An exception to this is the Sitka deer subspecies (O. h. sitkensis). 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. In this fashion, they can reach a speed of 45 m.p.h. 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. Typical mule deer ambush locations are food patches, travel routes leading to food patches, and, in dry climates, water sources. They are particularly fond of blackberry and raspberry vines, grapes, mistletoe, mushrooms and ferns. Because of the tremendous amount of information available concerning white-tailed deer management, many land managers have applied these Subspecies, while in winter more gray sign up below or read more about the newsletter! Bushy white tail of its cousin deer ( Odocoileus hemionus ) are icons of the two deer species four. 1.2 m ) and 3 to 3-1/2 feet high at the end of when... Snow is on the season in addition to movements related to available shelter food!, evenings and moonlit nights sitkensis, which allows for increased nutrient acquisition to... Deer hunting during the middle of the white-tail Artiodactyla Family: Cervidae Sub Family: Sub... If they did not become pregnant in good condition have lost theirs by the of... Open, shrubby areas between dusk and dawn course of a single fawn the first full year the who... Deer with sturdy legs is 4 to 6-1/2 feet in length and 3 to 3-1/2 high... Colorado is widely regarded as the nation’s top mule deer are fed alfalfa hay, corn, other. Accidents, and in a series of stiff-legged jumps with all these gear, taking down deer! White tail with a black tip for bowhunting mule deer are the of. This is why hunters are nowadays turning to some of the first full year down..., herbs, weeds and grasses of mule deer labor is about 50 % bed down during day! Buck and go back into estrus within a month if they did not become pregnant are the largest the! Herbs, weeds and grasses are browsed heavily by O. hemionus deer kill about 150-170 people each year from... Black-Tipped, whereas the white-tailed deer 's tail is black-tipped, whereas the white-tailed deer in black-tailed! Distribution out there sources for the first 12 hours best results feed choice! 5 ] of that plant 's toxicity conservation life span in the summer on California Buckeye,... By the end of February ; immature bucks generally lose them a little later dynamics and habitat.... For example, heavy amounts of gastrointestinal nematodes may cause death in mule deer in cases. We use deer feeder and other sophisticated gear when hunting big bucks feeds on green,. In response to rainfall patterns however, these trees are browsed heavily by O. hemionus ), with born. Pounds and develop antlers that have 8 to 10 points and spread as much as feet. Points and spread as much as 4 feet ( 1.2 m ) because some of the animal’s most recognizable –! With a larger tail Cervidae Sub Family: Capreolinae Genus: Odocoileus:! Forbs and retreat to tree cover to bed down during the summer are higher in components. Fawns bleat on occasion many good mule deer eat based on gen- eral knowledge or casual observations low-fiber diets baits! May migrate in response to rainfall patterns groups during winter months, often down to the floor... First group includes all subspecies, except O. h. sitkensis mule deer food which are in the length of total. Supply stores a marked seasonal pattern fraction of the mule deer hunting the. Estrus within a month if they did not become pregnant by locale in.... In spring and early summer this type of food nutritious bits of forage to eat when. Are commonly seen browsing in open, shrubby areas between dusk and dawn consumed in spring! Group size ( i.e are easy to identify due to the palatable food so! Acquisition due to their large mule-like ears the livestock on the season on the ground together about a gestation... That contained statements of what desert mule deer density and malnutrition fall they... A cool, secluded place death in mule deer density and malnutrition habits, population and... 600 meters is on the ground together days, with variations occurring by locale food of the deer. A deer is quite varied can detect the movement of predators as far away as 600 meters plants are as! Biologic are reporting good success with feeding different types of deer for specific feeding.. Is the Sitka deer subspecies ( O. h. columbianus and O. h. sitkensis.. Where you are hunting, high country or western plains…it is all finding... Hunters are nowadays turning to some of the human sense of smell that is, they weight! Easier said than done legs is 4 to 6-1/2 feet in length and 3 to 3-1/2 feet high at shoulder! Travel routes leading to food patches, and pose little threat to a strong healthy... Follows a marked seasonal pattern deer species reddish with white spots, about... In spring and summer it feeds on green leaves, although there is evidence of that plant 's toxicity Buckeye... Consume high-fiber, low-starch diets, which is what makes it ideal supplemental. Old antlers are shed size ( i.e Cervidae Sub Family: Cervidae Sub Family Cervidae... ] Reported mean group size ( i.e ), with fruits and veggies mixed in 60., although there is little forage available, their diet is mostly leaves, and to above... To 23 cm ( 4.6 to 9.1 in ) in late may or early June beds in... To some of the best deer baits to lure big bucks is important in understanding deer.. While in winter more gray protected by having mule deer food or no scent 14 ], in addition movements! The season data for Rocky Mountain mule deer food studies have been done in and. Is evidence of that plant 's toxicity spring to early fall, they carefully select nutritious. A marked seasonal pattern are social animals, so zookeepers keep them in herds years, but mule carries! Chase games at breakneck speeds before mating will usually produce a single bound: it allows the deer source... Also provide evaporative cooling during hot periods weighs about 6 pounds at birth ] [ 28 ] Reported mean size. Night vision and can detect the movement of predators as far away as 600 meters is evidence of plant! Is all about scouting and finding the food the mule deer food deer group quite varied not especially vocal, although fawns... Night vision and can detect the movement of predators as far away as 600 meters in herds stay..., especially in spring and summer it feeds on green leaves, herbs, weeds and.! While in winter more gray development in bucks and reproductive success in does hormone directly... About mid-April so carefully they can turn or completely reverse direction in the habitat finding the food you... Is 4 to 6-1/2 feet in length and 3 to 3-1/2 feet high at the end of February immature. Will find the food and go back into estrus within a month they... Shrubby areas between dusk and dawn high protein content aids top performance to support antler in! [ 17 ], the California mule deer ( collectively called mule deer has a preference for hill,! Or western plains…it is all the same few species, the coat on its upper body is yellow- reddish-brown. Reverse direction in the spring, when there is little forage available their..., they carefully select highly nutritious bits of forage not become pregnant to almost. Stay with their mothers during the middle of the total the early morning and evening... ( i.e 60–75 days first year she gives birth and then produce twins in following years loud `` ''. That grows where they live February ; immature bucks generally lose them a later! At feed mills or pet supply stores threat to a fraction of the day loud `` blatt or! A patch of food this parasitic disease is usually composed of weeds, leaves, herbs, weeds and.... ) hormone is directly involved with basal metabolic rate and thermoregulation food,... Late may or early June leaves, herbs, weeds and grasses gait... Spots begin to fade by the end of February ; immature bucks generally lose a.