Mule Deer

Mule Deer

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The scientific name for Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and are classified as a mammal with a life span of 10 to 12 years. The Mule Deer State Conservation Status is labeled as Priority Species with a Federal Conservation status of Least Concern and are considered Big Game species. The description of a Mule Deer: large ears like mule therefore earning this species name hemionus meaning “half mule”. Most Mule Deer have mostly brown-gray coats with visible cream or white colored rumps. Similar differences in the Mule Deer occur depending on 
the location of where they reside. The Mule Deer is found throughout the state of Nevada in habitats that consist of (Cold desert shrubland and Sagebrush Grasslands and Upland Forests). The threats to the Mule Deer population are invasive grasses, drought, habitat degradation, wildfires, and overpopulation of wild horses and burros.

Mule Deer are herbivores, and they depend on plant material to survive, the primary food is on forbs (flowering herbaceous plants) and leaves and twigs of woody plants and berries and fruit, but their diet varies depending on the season, an example being that Mule Deer rely on sagebrush during the winter months when other forage is not readily available due to the season. Mule deer are ruminants: animals with four-chambered stomachs that chew cud regurgitated from their first stomach or rumen. The Bacterium in the rumen helps the Mule Deer break down their food, and they must be careful in the selection of food they decide to eat and browse on higher-quality and more nutritious plants. A Mule Deer bucks are male deer, and a female deer is called a doe. The Mule Deer bucks grow antlers each year, but these antlers fall off after mating season which is called the “rut” which generally occurs in November or December. The Mule Deer bucks will fight for the right to mate with the female deer which results in the locking of their antlers until they are completely tired. The Mule Deer usually produce two fawns during the early summer and these fawns at birth are spotted and have no scent and fawns may weigh between 5 to 6 pounds and after 60 to 75 days these fawns are winged off their mother’s milk.

The does have to find food for their young so they end up leaving the fawns for long periods of time to find forage. The fawn’s ability to protect themselves from predators is due to their spotted fur which acts as a camouflage as well as their lack of scent.

Mule Deer migration is the seasonal movement between habitats typically biannual movements between summer range with high elevation and winter range with low elevation. Not all Mule Deer migrate, some remain on their range year-round. Migration is promoted due to changes in the availability of food and the weather with these routes well over 100 miles in length using stopovers to maximize energy intake along their migration route. It is suggested that these Mule Deer learn migration routes from their mothers and typically follow the same route for the remainder of their lives.

Unfortunately, the Mule Deer Population is on the decline for decades now therefore establishing by NDOW (MDEP) Mule Deer Enhancement Program which consist of non-governmental organizations, land management agencies, private landowners, industry partners all to address the reasoning of why there is a Mule Deer decline and the attributes that have assisted with this decline. You can find upcoming meeting dates on (MDEP) website: 

To manage a healthy wildlife hence giving the public the hunting experience of a lifetime and keeping populations sustainable. Hunting quotas are necessary, this means the maximum number of tags that NDOW gives to hunt Mule Deer. The annual quota recommendations are decided by NDIW and their biologists by the following steps: 1) Conducting surveys during the seasons of spring and fall to understand what condition the Mule Deer are in at that time. Fall Surveys are aerial surveys with the mission of determining ratios of male and female as well as adults and juveniles. Spring Surveys use the same method of aerial surveys with the focus on the adults and the fawns. The biologist wants to determine how bad of a winter it was for the young Mule Deer and calculate the population of new Mule Deer. Annual Big Game Quotas are set after the application deadline for applications to be submitted to NDOW Annual Quota Recommendations go to (CCABMW) Clark County Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife for all the 
counties for review and discussion and input from board and the public at the CCABMW meetings, next the CCABMW votes to support or give another quota recommendation thereafter all recommendations go to NDOW Commission.

Harvest reporting is a requirement in the State of Nevada. The return process is 98% from the hunters submitting the information to NDOW. NDOW Biologists with this process determine total number of mule deer and other animals that were removed from these areas and the success rates for the variety type of hunting seasons for the Mule Deer. Harvest Data- this data is collected by hunters only after the Mule Deer Season has ended. The Hunters must report 
the required data: Sex of Mule Deer, Age, Location of Hunt, Antler points and identify any other animals in this process wounded or tracked.

NDOWs estimates are based on formula of NDOW Biologists fall and spring surveys added with harvest data together into computer model. The estimates are a determination of amount of Mule Deer Removal for allowance of healthy populations, quality hunting experience for public. Data from the Population Models and NDOW Biologists can calculate their recommendations for annual hunting quota or available given for the Mule Deer Season.
Mule Deer (U.S. National Park Service) (
CR 22-11 2022-2023 Big Game Quotas APPROVED (

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