Mule deer are brownish-gray in color with
big ears (9 inches or so) like a mule's, and a white rump patch. Only
the males grow antlers, which are shed each spring and regrown during
the summer and fall. The main part of the antlers diverges into 2
branches, each bearing 2 or more tines.
Mule deer are widespread throughout the
desert, wherever there is sufficient
for food and cover. They may make elevational migrations in the summer
and winter. Mule deer browse on mesquite leaves and beans, catclaw
(thank goodness someone eats that stuff), jojoba, buckbrush and fairy
duster and graze on a variety of grasses.
The ears of a mule deer
constantly swivel around like antenna dishes, to detect sounds of
Mule deer breed in December and January and the one or
two fawns are born the next summer (about a 7 month gestation). The does
often move higher onto mountain tops to give birth to keep the fawn away
from coyotes. The fawns are able to walk and run within a few days of
birth. They usually stay with the mother until the next year. Many deer
spend their entire lives within a 1-2 mile home range (like the one in
the photo which lives in Zion NP). The main predators of adult mule deer
are mountain lions.