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Mule Deer - July 21, 2011

Imagine my surprise when I walked out on the balcony of my room at Zion National Park and saw this mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) feeding on Box elder.  I used to do mule deer counts in eastern Montana for the Bureau of Land Management (in my role as a botanist).  They are native to the western United States and according to Wikipedia, the bucks may range in size from 150-300 lbs.  They are noted for their droopy tail and bounding leaps when running away. 

What was really neat about this one was he was in velvet.  Apparently, that’s late for mule deer.  Velvet usually occurs from February to April and this was in May.  It could have to do with the altitude of Zion.

© Fred Searcy 2017