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Drive Into a Deer

Facts & Cautions

Mule Deer



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Whitetailed Deer




Deer tracks.

Camp > Guide > Animals > Mammals > Deer

Deer feeding near Brightangel Campground in Grand Canyon NP.Canyon Country Animals

Mammals: Deer






Mule Deer

Mule Deer in the Black Hills of South Dakota.Scientific Name: Ococoileus hemionus

The summer coat of the Mule Deer varies from yellowish to reddish, while its winter coat is dark gray. The insides of its legs, underparts, and rump are whitish. The short, stumpy tail is tipped with black. Males (bucks) have branched or forked antlers.

They inhabit forest, chaparral, and desert scrub communities. They are a large herbivore with a very varied diet, depending upon the season, vegetative type where it lives, and climatic conditions.

Fawns, usually twins, are born in midsummer. Deer may live to ten years in the wild, but average only three to three and a half years. This large herbivore may reach in excess of 200 pounds. Bucks grow and shed new antlers annually. Mule deer usually "bounce" away.

Whitetailed Deer

Scientific Name: Ococoileus virginianus

A very dainty, beautiful deer; it is much smaller than the mule deer. Pale gray in color, with white under parts. The large, triangular tail is snowy-white underneath. Males (bucks) have antlers which do not branch or fork; antler tines rise from a main beam. They are a medium-large herbivore, more a browser than a grazer. Prefers shrubs, forbs, and trees but utilizes a wide variety of plants. Preyed upon by coyote, bobcat, and lion. Fawns, usually twins, are born in early to midsummer. A very shy, alert deer which runs and commonly "flags" its large, white tail when frightened.

If You Hit a Deer While Driving

Facts and Cautions

No matter where you are driving, keep these facts and cautions in mind:



Resting deer in the LaSal Mountains.There are several types of deer that you might see in the canyon country, but most often you will see mule deer. In protected areas, such as the national parks, these good sized animals are not shy and may walk within a few feet of your campsite. Resist the temptation to touch them and remember that in spite of their graceful appearance, they are wild animals and will defend themselves aggressively if they fear for their safety. Sit quietly and observe them in their natural surroundings, and takes lots of photos.

Do not feed the deer and keep your campsite clean and tidy, especially while you are away from camp. Mule deer, in many areas, have become habituated to human food, and may become a problem. In one case, an autopsy found that deer were starving to death because they had consumed too much plastic, which was prohibiting digestion. It is illegal to feed any animal in a national park.

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