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Non-typical Mule Deer

Non-typical Mule Deer
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-10-24
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 40D, Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2008-10-26 18:24
Viewed: 11641
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hi All,
I am sorry I have been missing in action but we have had a busy few days. First Lucy lost her uncle Casper, then we had the go to her nephew Wyatts wedding in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. To say we have been rushing around would be understatement, but we arrived home a couple of hours ago. Today, I have a Non-typical Mule Deer buck that we captured near Rosetown, Saskatchewan. He had been laying in some willows when I spotted him, so we turned around and got a few images of him. Non-typical means that his antlers are not formed with tines forking uniformly and up. If you look closely he has tines pointing sideways and the tines are webbed instead of round. He was quite a big animal so he must be fairly old. I will catch up on my critiques tomorrow.

Mule deer
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mule Deer
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Subfamily: Odocoileinae
Genus: Odocoileus
Species: O. hemionus
Binomial name
Odocoileus hemionus
(Rafinesque, 1817)
The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is a deer whose habitat is in the western half of North America. It gets its name from its large mule-like ears. Adult male mule deer are called bucks, adult females are called does, and young of both sexes are called fawns. Its closest relative is the black-tailed deer (considered by some a subspecies of mule deer). Unlike its cousin, the white-tailed deer, mule deer are generally more associated with the land west of the Missouri River. The most noticeable differences between whitetails and muleys are the color of their tails and configuration of their antlers. The mule deer's tail is black tipped. Mule deer antlers "fork" as they grow rather than branching from a single main beam (as with white-tails). Each year a buck's antlers start to grow in spring and are shed after mating season from mid-January to mid-April. Mule deer bucks have somewhat more prominent ears than females. Instead of running, mule deer move with a bounding leap (stotting) with all four feet coming down together.
The mule deer is the largest of the Odocoileus genus, standing, on the average, 40 to 42 inches at the shoulders and stretching 80 inches or so nose to tail. An adult buck will weigh from 150 to 300 pounds on the hoof, with does averaging 100 to 175 pounds. The occasional trophy-sized mule deer buck may weigh in around 400 pounds.

In addition to movements related to available shelter and food, the breeding cycle is important in understanding deer behavior and personality. The "rut" or mating season usually begins in the fall as does go into estrus for a period of a few days and males become more aggressive, competing for mates. Does may mate with more than one buck and go back into estrus within a month if they do not mate. The gestation period is approximately 190200 days, with fawns born in the spring, staying with their mothers during the summer and being weaned in the fall after approximately 6075 days. A buck's antlers fall off during the winter, to grow again in preparation for the next season's rut. For more information see main article on deer.

In summer, it chiefly forages on not only herbaceous plants, but also various berries (including blackberry, huckleberry, salal, and thimbleberry). Mule deer are known to forage in summer on California Buckeye leaves, even though their is some evidence of that plant's toxicity. In winter, it forages on conifers (especially twigs of Douglas fir, cedar, Taxus yews, aspen, willow, dogwood, serviceberry, juniper, and sage). Year-round, it eats acorns and apples.

Mule deer prefer "edge" habitats where the trees meet the grass, and their populations tend to move up or down with those of their preferred foods. Mule deer rarely travel far from water or forage, and tend to bed down within easy walking distance of both. Young mule deer tend to forage together in family groups while bucks tend to travel alone or with other bucks. Most actively foraging around dawn and dusk, they tend to bed down in protected areas mid-day, but will also forage at night in more open agricultural areas or when pressured by hunters. Repeated beds will often be scratched level, about the size of a washtub. Temporary beds will seem little more than flattened grassy grounds.

bobair, jaycee, eqshannon, boreocypriensis, Jamesp, Alex99, NinaM has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Rick he is a fine looking fellow and you have captured him well and as you say in your note,he must be getting on in years.I hope all is well for you and Lucy,and things will hit an even keel for you both,life keeps us all hopping.The point of view for this shot is very good and as are the colours,the light wasn't user friendly as the details are more muted because of the weather lately but this is still a photo I would loved to have taken myself.Thanks for giving us this view. Bob

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-10-26 19:01]

Hi Rick,

Please offer Lucy my condolences. I'm so sorry for her lost. I have never seen a male Mule Deer. There were three females with two youngsters in my yard this morning. This one is a beauty. He is licking his lips - wonder if he thinks you would make a good meal. Very interesting about the antlers. A wonderful shot with terrific pose, nice natural colors and superb details.


What a rack that one has Rick...even with all of it, still has no time to hide its trademark ears...but fantastic capture...You really get around..I have one of your shots on news page now..and a lot to line up behind...You are definitely the 21rst century guy!
Sorry about personal issues...it happens..yet that doens't take the sting out...pass on eh best from Jane and me!

Hello Rick

I hope things slow down for you and return to normal.
This is a beautiful animal,malformed rack and all.
You have terrific eye contact,and even are getting the old raspberry.
Nicely captured in a natural setting.
Great POV.


:) what a funny and great timing capture of this cute mule dear Rick!
Excellent in all around!
TFS and have a nice new week my frişend!


amazing capture, TFS Ori

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-10-26 23:38]

Hi Rick

Great shot - very interesting also. the atlers look more like those of our Red Deer. Hope things calm down for you a bit.


  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-10-27 2:30]

Hello Rick,
Beautiful photo with an impressive pose. Fantastic sharpness and clear colours. Great DOF, contrast and composition.
TFS, Best regards Siggi

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-10-27 4:01]

Hello Rick,
Beautiful photo of this Mule Deer in its natural setting. Excellent sharp details and great natural colours. Nice POV and eye-contact.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-10-27 10:32]

Hi Rick.
I do know how to reflect this charming animal better. Even vertical orientation of the scene is perfect. DOF and details of the charming animal and impressive surroundings are ultimate. Soft lighting and exposure of the image are the best too. My greetings and TFS. Perfect job.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-10-27 16:40]

Hi Rick,
a nice shot of this Deer licking his lips :-)
Very sharp and crisp.
Great lighting.
Well composed.


  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-10-30 19:12]

A blonde beauty in a blonde surrounding, beautiful once more Rick! I'm lucky you took time to post even though you've been so busy. I missed many of your shots but I will catch up on every each of them. I'm always amazed at the diversity of wild animals you post almost every day. Wow is all I can say. many thanks!


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