Back to   Skip Navigation LinksWildlife Home Page    Deer Species    Mule Deer
Mule Deer
 Mule Deer Facts and Information

Mule Deer - Buck and Doe
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service - Blake, Tupper Ansel

Common Name: Mule Deer (Muleys)
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Odocoileinae
Genus: Odocoileus
Species: Odocoileus hemionus

The mule deer inherited its name from the early miners who thought their ears resembled that of a mule. Usually the same size or bigger than its cousin the white-tailed deer, a mature male (buck) weighs between 150 to 300 pounds (65 to 135 kg), but has also been known to weigh as much as 400 pounds (180 kg). Female mule deer (doe) typically average in weight from 100 to 175 pounds (45 to 80 kg). Mule deer are between 40 to 45 inches (100 to 115 cm) at the shoulder, and are 75 to 85 inches (190 to 215 cm) in length from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Unlike the white-tailed deer with their broad long tails, mule deer have a narrow tail that has a dark-grey or black tip. In the late spring mule deer appear to be reddish-brown in color, then transforming into a grey or grayish-brown in the fall and winter months. Male deer grow antlers in the late spring and lose the antlers in late winter. When describing the antler (rack) size of a mule deer, most people count the number of points on each side. For example a “4 by 4” would be 4 points on each side, whereas on a white-tailed deer the size is referenced by the total number of points on both sides. For example, 10 points would mean 5 points on each side of the antler.
Mule Deer - Front Hoof Print
Front Hoof Print
Mule Deer - Rear Hoof Print
Rear Hoof Print

Mule Deer Distribution/Habitat

Mule Deer - Distribution

The mule deer are typically found in higher elevations, but are also found in lower elevations. Primarily located in the western half of the United States and southern Canada, the mule deer range is as far south as Mexico, following the Rocky Mountains all the way north into south-western Canada.

Mule Deer Diet

Mule Deer - Buck and Does
Credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service

The mule deer can eat a variety of plants like sage, junipers, willows, aspen leaves and twigs, cedar and fir needles.

Mule Deer Reproduction

Mule Deer - Furry Fawn

Mule deer begin mating from early October to mid-November (also called the ‘rut’), depending on the environmental conditions. Female deer will give birth to one or two spotted deer (fawns) in early May to mid-June, and can weigh from 15 to 20 pounds (7 to 9 kg). By winter, the fawns have lost their spots. The females can weigh up to 45 pounds (20 kg) and the males up to 75 pounds (35 kg).

Back to   Skip Navigation LinksWildlife Home Page    Deer Species    Mule Deer