Mule Deer

Description: Mule deer are common in Idaho. They are usually dark gray-brown and they have a white patch on their rumps, along with a small, black-tipped tail. Mule deer are often confused for their close cousins, white tailed deer, but they are different in several ways. They carry their tails in a droopy position, while white tailed deer carry their white tails in an upright position. Mule deer also move differently than white tailed deer; when startled, they seem to jump, with all four feet hitting the ground together in what looks like a series of leaps. Mule deer also have very large ears and larger antlers than white tailed deer.    

 Mule deer doe
  Mule deer doe (female) 

Habitat: Mule deer can live in many different environments, and they are one of the most plentiful large mammals in North America. They are found from the Arctic Circle in the Yukon to northern Mexico! You can often see them grazing on BLM rangelands in winter, where they can reach edible grasses under the snow and nibble on sagebrush.   They have large ears, which are constantly moving.

Mule Deer summer forage is chiefly herbaceous plants, but also blackberry, huckleberry, salal, and thimbleberry; winter browse includes twigs of Douglas-fir, cedar, yew, aspen, willow, dogwood, serviceberry, chokecherry, juniper, bitterbrush and sagebrush. They also eat apples and crops where available.

Fun Facts: Mule deer are probably the most common large-game animal in Idaho, with a population of over 300,000.

male mule deer
 Mule deer buck (male) foraging for food 


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Herbivore Mammals

Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
Bighorn sheep 
American pronghorn 

Carnivore Mammals

American badger 
River otter 
Red fox 
Long-tailed weasel 
Grizzly bear 
Mountain lion   



  Long-toed salamander 
  Idaho giant salamander  
  Coeur d'Alene salamander

 Frogs and Toads  

  American bullfrog 
  Columbia spotted frog 
  Western toad 
  Northern leopard frog 
  Pacific tree frog 
  Great Basin spadefoot 



Painted turtle 
Northern alligator lizard 
Mohave black-collared lizard 
Short-horned lizard 
Desert horned lizard 
Sagebrush lizard 
Western fence lizard 
Western skink 
Side-blotched lizard 
Longnosed leopard lizard 
Western whiptail 



Western pipistrelle 
Western small-footed myotis 
Little brown bat 
Yuma myotis 
Townsend's big-eared bat 
Hoary bat 
Silver-haired bat 
Fringed myotis 
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list) 

Greater sage-grouse 
Pygmy rabbit 
No. Idaho ground squirrel 
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx 
Grizzly bear 
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou 
Kootenai White River sturgeon 
Bull trout 
Sockeye salmon 
Chinook salmon 
Steelhead trout 
Yellow-billed cuckoo