These deer are named for their long, mule-like ears which help them detect predators in open spaces where sounds travels long distances.
The dominant male in the herd is usually the largest – and the male with biggest antlers attracts the most mates.
Today, the most urgent threat to wild mule deer is Chronic Wasting Disease. They also face high predator populations, competition with livestock for food and changes to their habitat.
Who’s the boss?
Male and female mule deer dominate the herd at different times of the year. In the winter, after males have lost their antlers, an experienced female, called a doe, leads the herd of females. In the summer, small groups of does and adult males, called bucks, intermingle in a group called a herd. The largest buck, with the biggest antlers, is dominant.
Young mule deer are called fawns.
At a Glance
43 – 150 kg (95 – 330 lb)
Boreal forest and shrub woodland of Canada and the United States.
Herbivore. Mule deer eat different plants depending on the time of year. In the summer, they take advantage of green leafy plants and store fat for the winter, when they eat less and their diet consists mostly of woody twigs.