Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

previous  | next

Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus


enlarge +

A Mule Deer buck grazing near Leavenworth, Washington
credit: Christina Bergquist/CCSA

All Images

1 article:

Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Alternate name: Black-tailed Deer

Family: Cervidae, Deer view all from this family

Description Ears are larger and tail is smaller than that of the White-tailed Deer. Males have dichotomously branching antlers that are usually shed in January and regrow over the summer. The tail is large and black in coastal subspecies, smaller with a black tip in interior subspecies. Interior animals are pale brown or tan in the winter with a large white rump patch, while coastal animals are darker and grayer with a smaller white rump patch. All races are rusty red in new summer coat. Fawns are reddish with white spots. There is a V-shaped dark mark from the point between the eyes, upward and laterally, especially in males.

Dimensions 1.3-1.7m, 13-22cm, 40-120kg; / 1.2-1.6m, 12-21cm, 30-80kg

Habitat Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Meadows & fields, Forests & woodlands, Alpine & subalpine habitats, Cities, suburbs & towns

Range Plains, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas, California, Northwest, Western Canada, Alaska

Discussion When alarmed they bound away in a “stot,” with four feet hitting the ground together at each bound (the White-tailed Deer springs from hind to front feet). Populations in northern mountains migrate up to higher elevations in the summer and down to the foothills in the winter. Prefers mixed habitat with both open areas for feeding and forest or brushy areas for protection. Common in western mountain forests, deserts, and brushlands.