Broker Check



The deer most sought after in North America, east of the Rocky Mountains, is the white-tailed deer. West of the Rockies, the mule deer is the dominant deer species. Blacktail deer are dominant along the west coast (west of the Cascade Range) from Northern California to Southeast Alaska, with introduced populations in Prince William Sound and the Kodiak Archipelago. The most notable differences between these deer, other than distribution, are the differences in ears, tail, antler shape (the way they each fork), and body size.[citation needed] The mule deer's ears are proportionally longer than the ears of a white-tailed deer, they also have different color skin and brighter faces and resemble that of a mule. Mule deer have a black-tipped tail which is proportionally smaller than that of the white-tailed deer. Buck deer of both species sprout antlers; the antlers of the mule deer branch and re-branch forming a series of Y shapes, while white-tailed bucks typically have one main beam with several tines sprouting from it. White-tailed bucks are slightly smaller than mule deer bucks. Both of the species lose their antlers in January, and regrow the antlers during the following summer beginning in June. Velvet from the antlers are shed in August and September. Each buck normally gets larger each year as long as good food sources are present. Antler growth depends on food sources. If food is not good one year, antlers will be smaller. Many deer do not reach their full potential due to getting hit by automobiles, also known as road kills.

In Hawaii, axis deer were introduced into the environment in the 1950s. Having no predators their numbers quickly grew and they are considered an "invasive species" especially on the islands of Lanai and Maui. Recently there have been sightings of axis deer on the big island of Hawaii. Most of the deer hunting on Maui is on privately held lands.

In addition to movements related to available shelter and food, the breeding cycle is important in understanding deer behavior. The "rut" or mating season usually begins in the fall as does go into estrus for a period of a few days and males become more aggressive, competing for mates. Does may mate with more than one buck and go back into estrus within a month if they did not become pregnant. The gestation period is about 190–200 days, with fawns born in the spring, staying with their mothers during the summer and being weaned in the fall after about 60–75 days. Mule deer females usually give birth to two fawns, although if it is their first time having a fawn, they often have just one. A buck's antlers fall off during the winter, to grow again in preparation for the next season's rut. The annual cycle of antler growth is regulated by changes in the length of the day. 

The size of mule deer groups follow a marked seasonal pattern. Groups are smallest during fawning season (June and July in Saskatchewan and Alberta) and largest in early gestation (winter; February and March in Saskatchewan and Alberta).Besides humans, the three leading predators of mule deer are coyotes, gray wolves, and cougars. Bobcats, wolverines, American black bears, and brown bears may prey upon adult deer, but most often only attack fawns or infirm specimens or eat the deer after it has died naturally. Bears and smaller sized carnivores are typically opportunistic feeders, and would pose little threat to a strong, healthy mule deer.