White Mountains Online

Mule Deer - (Odocoileus hemionus)


White-Tail Deer - (Odocoileus virginianus)

Quiet and statuesque, both mule and white-tail deer are difficult but exciting to see. When startled, the white-tail deer's "flagging" of its large white tail is distinctive.

Description: Mule deer (left) are usually a dark gray-brown, with a small white rump patch and a small, black-tipped tail. Their large ears are distinctive. White-tail deer are tan in color, with a larger tail. Antlers on mule deer tend to be larger than white-tail deer and rise up over the head; the prongs are also forked. Prongs of white-tail antlers are single, and grow off the main tine; they tend to grow forward towards the eyes. Average weights are 225 and 125 pounds (mule deer buck and doe) and 125 and 80 pounds (white-tail buck and doe).

Habitat: Mule deer inhabit forests, desert shrub lands, plateaus, brushy areas, and rocky uplands between 100 and 10,000 feet in elevation. They are found statewide except the extreme southwest corner of the state. White-tail deer inhabit moist canyons, brushy and mixed woodlands, and forest edges between 4,000 and 10,000 feet in elevation in the central and southeast portions of the state.

Food Preferences: Mule deer feed on oak mast, cacti fruit, mesquite beans, mushrooms, yucca flowers, aspen, juniper, cliffrose, sagebrush, coffeeberry, weeds, and miscellaneous shrubs. White-tail deer (above - right) feed on shrubs, mast, grass, mistletoe, weeds, and cacti fruit in season.

Breeding notes: Mule deer usually breed November-December; white-tail in January. Mule deer fawns are born in June-August; white-tail fawns in August. The average number of fawns per doe (both species) is two.

Predators or Enemies: White-tail: Mountain Lion, Bobcat, Eagle, and Coyote
Mule Deer: Coyote, eagle, and mountain lion.

Size Individual Range: White-tail: 4 square miles
Mule Deer: 30-50 square miles.

Distribution: White-tail 4,000-10,000 feet in the Central and southeast mountains of Arizona.
Mule Deer: 9-10,000 feet, found statewide except extreme southwest corner of Arizona.

Information courtesy Arizona Game & Fish Department, Region 1-Pinetop,AZ