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Hunters for Conservation
The Mule Deer. Mule deer, an icon of the West, are in decline. Learn how hunters and conservation groups are taking the lead in protecting and understanding this important game animal.
  Muley Biology   Declining Populations  


Although they can interbreed with the more common white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, mule deer are a distinct, separate species with several physical and behavioral differences. Muley's antlers are made up of forks on forks. To flee a threat, mule deer use a 4 footed hopping gait called "stotting". The two also have different habitat needs - a fact that has made the mule deer a species of particular concern.


Broken into several recognized subspecies, including black-tailed deer, muleys range from coastal Alaska to Mexico, and from the Pacific coast to the semi-arid Great Plains.

Mule deer have proven less adaptable to human encroachment than whitetails, and are a generally diminishing population. Regulated sport hunting has no significant effect on overall muley numbers - habitat loss and degradation are to blame.

Muley Biology


  • Guzzlers are structures that collect rain water and store it in troughs accessible to muleys in arid areas
  • Wildlife underpasses let mule deer cross busy highways during seasonal migrations
  • Prescribed burns revitalize grass and shrub habitat




Professional biologists from the western states and provinces have also formed the Mule Deer Working Group to address declining populations head-on. Federal helps publish the Mule Deer Working Group's educational materials.

The Mule Deer Foundation works tirelessly to conserve, protect and enhance the mule deer's habitat, and increase hunter access. Federal is a proud sponsor of the Mule Deer Foundation.

WAFWA, Mule Deer Working Group, Mule Deer Foundation
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