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The mule deer can be found throughout the Western side of the United States. It receives it name from its ears, which have a distinct mule-like appearance. Even though its closest kin is the black-tailed deer the mule deer is most often referred to as 'the cousin' of the more popular whitetail deer. Like the whitetail, the male muleys are referred to as bucks, females as does, and the young fawns. They are also herbivores, consuming all types of ground vegetation and various berries.
One of the biggest differences in a whitetail and a mule deer is their body size. A buck mule deer weight ranges anywhere from 150 lbs at a young age to as much as 400 lbs when its reached full maturity. That same age class in a whitetail would only weigh in around 120 lbs when young to 230 lbs mature. The difference in the whitetail and mule deer bucks also shows itself in antler development. The mule deer can have horns up to 4 feet in length, which by far out sizes its cousin.
The mating season for the mule deer is called the rut. This mating season usually happens during the months of November and December. By the time mating season rolls around the bachelor groups of buck mule deer have already split up. The bucks generally go off alone to stake out territorial grounds while the does usually stay in small family groups of three or so. When a doe comes into heat she will be chased and fought over by contending bucks. The bucks with the bigger antlers usually are the ones that get to mate the doe over the next several days. In the rare instance that a doe does not mate the first time she comes into heat she will reenter the estrus state approximately four weeks later.
Three of the main diseases that affect mule deer are also the ones that wreak havoc in the whitetail deer population. Blue tongue disease and Epizootic hemorrhagic disease are the most common. These two diseases are often called the same thing because they are so difficult to tell apart. The other disease that is a growing threat to the mule deer population is the Chronic Wasting Disease or most commonly called CWD.
For those interested in hunting the huge mule deer the opportunities are endless. Depending upon what your budget allows you can easily book a hunt with one of the hundreds of operating outfitters that will accommodate you on your mule deer dream hunt. For those hunters that still like the satisfaction of doing all the work themselves and saving a few dollars there are multiple public land areas open for you. The appropriate license, your hunting gear and your travel expenses will be all you need to get started on your hunt for the mighty mule deer.