Mule Deer Facts – BLM

This entry was posted by on Monday, 15 December, 2008 at
    The following “facts” are published by the BLM
    (note: the last statement applied in 1960)

  • Over 55,000 mule deer roam BLM public lands in the Rock Springs District.
  • Mule deer inhabit every major vegetation type in western North America and every climate zone except arctic and tropics. Mule deer in high elevation ranges may migrate up to 50 miles between summer and winter range. Snow depth and forage availability is considered to be the dominant factor in population control by many.
  • Mule deer occupy a wide range of habitats. Food, cover, arid water requirements change with the seasons. Mule deer often must compete with livestock grazing practices and other human-caused disturbances. Proper land management can benefit deer.
  • Mule deer gain weight during spring, summer, and fall. Deer must be in excellent condition in the fall of each year to survive the harsh winter weather.
  • Deer eat a wide variety of foods. The major foods eaten by mule deer include sagebrush, serviceberry, snowberry, rabbitbrush, aspen, bitterbrush, juniper, willow, mountain mahogany, grasses, and forbs. In winter, more shrubs are eaten than dead forbs and grasses. Shrubs are alive and provide more protein and carbohydrates. Mule deer in North America have adapted to these long periods of nutritional stress caused by winter. Protection from human disturbance helps mule deer survive winter stress periods.
  • Males gain and lose weight more rapidly than females.
  • Both sexes essentially starve a little each day during severe winters because they can’t eat enough forage to maintain their body weight.
  • Good quality habitat may keep them from starving to death except in the very worst of winters.
  • Antler growth in males begins in the spring. As fall and the rut approaches, the males’ necks and shoulders swell, they become hyperactive and aggressive and begin to eat less food.
  • Mule deer have their young in riparian areas and aspen stands when they are available.
  • Under good conditions, most mule deer does have twins. Fawns average 7-8 pounds at birth.
  • Mule deer nearly disappeared from the plains by the late 1930s, probably due to the combination of excessive hunting, several periods of severe drought, complicated by over-grazing by domestic livestock and several extremely severe winters. Mule deer populations have rebounded in most of their range.

Source: Bureau of Land Management Rock Springs District

3 Responses to “Mule Deer Facts – BLM”

  1. good facts but you spelled rabbit brush rong but be sides that it is really good

  2. Tanks for the corekshun

  3. William Whatley

    Have two twin fawns born “first week of September” here in Colorado Springs…yep…born about 3 months late so we hope they can handle our coming winter. Their mother was also from a set of twins born on the property last year. By the way Wesley…you spelled “wrong” as “rong”!

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