Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

The mule deer was named for its huge ears. It is larger than a white-tailed deer and has a black tip on its tail. They range throughout western North America and live in a variety of habitats. The Yukon represents the northern edge of their range. Sightings date back to the 1920's and have become increasingly common in recent years. Mule deer are now seen as far north as Dawson, however they still remain vulnerable to severe winter conditions.


Mule deer are very hard to see as they are camouflaged to blend into their environment. If you spot one, keep looking in that area. You might see more as your eyes adjust to their shape. Mule deer live in herds and eat leaves and bark of shrubs, as well as grass in meadows. They prefer edge habitats where forest meets grass. They are most often seen in early morning and early evening. They sleep or ruminate (re-chew their stomach contents) much of the day.


The does (females) commonly have twins. The fawns are born  spotted and about the size of a large cat. They are not usually seen for the first few weeks, as they stay hidden as a means of avoiding predators. When mule deer run, they bound in a “stot” and their strong leg muscles propel them over high obstacles.