Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

mule deer

mule deer

deer from behind

Wikipedia on Mule Deer

Identification: There are two kinds of deer in these parts one commonly referred to as mule deer and the white-tailed deer. In the state of Washington if it has a black tail and is located on the coast it’s simply called a black-tailed deer. However if it’s located on the eastern side (where this shot was taken) it’s referred to as a mule deer. The black-tailed and mule are two different species however according to the hunters manual anything with a black tail in this area is a mule deer. Black-tailed deer on the washington coast tend to be smaller then America’s largest deer, which is the mule, by a couple of hands. The key to identification is they rarely “flag” or throw up their tail in alarm and secondly, the tip of the tail is black. The tail is not fuzzy with a lot of hair (like a whitetails) but instead is a rope leading to a black bob at the end of it’s tail another means of identification are the very large ears. (See above in upper right hand corner of deer departing to view it’s odd tail.) In this area in spring and summer they often are seen with very red cinnamon colored coats; so if you saw a deer and it’s a dark cinnamon and does not flag when it runs away you probably saw a mule deer. In this are they are commonly found in mountains in small groups or alone and occasionally are found at low elevations in fields. Most of the time however the lower elevation deer in meadows feeding are whitetails.

See My Whitetailed Deer Images for comparison


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