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Male Mule Deer (Buck/Stag)

Female Mule Deer (Doe)

Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) occurs over most of North America west of the 100th meridian from 23 degrees to 60 degrees N. The eastern edge of the usual range extends from southwestern Saskatchewan through central North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and western Texas. Isolated occurrences have been reported from Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. Major gaps in geographic distribution are in southern Nevada, southeastern California, southwestern Arizona, and the Great Salt Lake desert region. Apart from these gaps, mule deer occurs in all of the biomes of western North America north of central Mexico, except the Arctic tundra. The pelage of mule deer ranges from dark brown gray, dark and light ash-gray to brown and even reddish. The rump patch may be white or yellow, while the throat patch is white (Geist 1981). The white tails of most mule deer terminate in a tuft of black hairs, or less commonly in a thin tuft of white hairs. On some mule deer, a dark dorsal line runs from the back, down the top of the tail, to the black tail tip. All markings vary considerably among mule deer, but remain constant throughout the life of an individual. mule deer a dark V-shaped mark, extending from a point between the eyes upward and laterally. This mark is more conspicuous in males. Growth in mule deer during the first year is roughly parallel in males and females. Thereafter, males, in general, exceed females in carcass weight, chest girth, neck circumference, body length, head length, cranial breadth, shoulder height, hindfoot length, and hoof length. Carcass weight ranges from 45 to 150 kg in males, and 43 to 75 kg in females. Chest girth ranges from 80 to 117 cm in males, and 78 to 97 cm in females. Neck circumference ranges from 30 to 65 cm in males, and 26 to 38 cm in females. Body length ranges from 126 to 168 cm in males, and 125 to 156 cm in females. Head length ranges from 28 to 35 cm in males, and 27 to 33 cm in females. Cranial breadth ranges from 11 to 16 cm in males, and 10 to 14 cm in females. Shoulder height ranges from 84 to 106 cm in males, and 80 to 100 cm in females.

Mule Deer Subspecies

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