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  DEER

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White Tailed (Odocoileus Virginianus)

Mule Deer (Odocoileus Hemionus)
Deer are members of the Ungulate family, which are animals with hooves.


Mule deer are quite plentiful in the Rockies and they prefer more open areas so you are more likely to see them than their white tailed cousins. They have larger ears than the whitetail to allow them better hearing in open areas where prey may be lurking.   Cougars are a threat but you are unlikely to see a reclusive cougar. They avoid humans.

Deer
One of the a deers' most endearing traits is the way it bounces when running. Called "stotting" or "pronking" the animal jumps and lands with all four hooves at the same time. It's hilarious to see.

Good places to see deer include the massive Edmonton River Valley, Alberta's agricultural lands where predators are less prevalent, lakeland areas, Yellowhead Highway, Jasper townsite, Pyramid Lake and Maligne Road near Jasper. Kananaskis Country and Waterton are also good spotting areas.

Deer
When a deer gallops, its dew claws will
show in its tracks (not shown here)


Athabasca Falls



Deer
Their are several species of the deer family prominent in Alberta. Moose and Wapiti (elk) are covered on other pages. Mule Deer and White tailed deer are covered here.

Deer average 3 to 4 feet in height and 5 to 6 feet feet in length with females about 20 % smaller. Brownish in the summer, graying somewhat in the winter. Both have white tailed rumps (the mule deer has much less white on the rump). The white tailed deer has white undermarkings and white flashes around its snout. Mule deers have ears that are quite a bit larger and have a black tipped tail. White tail deer average 100 to 300 pounds with the mule deer about 10% larger.



Deer live on grasses, leaves and twigs. They are constantly on the move for new food sources and are vigilant to any sounds around them. This, combined with their terrific agility in woods, is the main defence against predators.

Deer
Does will give birth to one, two or rarely three fawns. Born in May or June the young weigh in at 6 or 7 pounds. Both Mule and White tail deer fawns have white spots. Fawns can stand and move a few hours after birth but spend most of their first months hiding.  They give off no scent whatsoever which makes it almost impossible for predators to sniff them out.

Vocalizing deer. People will seldom witness sounds from deer but they do actually snort, groan, cough, yell and the young have been heard to bleat like a sheep.

Body Language. Deer signal danger to other deer very quietly so as not to draw attention. They will flash their tails (called flagging), showing the white underside as a "silent danger signal".


Mule Deer Banff
This Mule Deer was seen eating shrubbery in front of a restaurant in Banff.
Lucky her, she wasn't invited for lunch!

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