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MDF National Headquarters South West, Ste. H Salt Lake City, UT Open weekdays from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Phone: Fax: Email: . This species has a robust body and is considerably larger than the white-tailed deer of the eastern United States and somewhat smaller than the Rocky Mountain mule deer. An average adult . California mule deer usually browse close to lakes or streams providing their water. From that water source, they may roam mi, and typically make their beds in grassy areas beneath trees within such a one-mile radius from both water and forage. Repeatedly used beds often are scratched to a nearly level See more.


Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) – Help care for the land you love.


Where humans have encroached on historic deer habitat by suburban development or orchards, California mule deer will diversify their diet with garden plant material, with fruit trees, and occasionally, even with pet food. Fawns and Does tend to forage together in familial groupings while bucks tend to travel singly or with other bucks. California mule deer browse most actively near dawn and dusk, but will also forage at night in open agricultural areas or when experiencing hunting pressure.

Rutting mating season occurs in autumn when does come into estrus for a period lasting only several days. Males manifest aggressive behavior in competing for mates. Does will begin oestrus again if they do not mate. The gestation period is approximately days, with fawns arriving in the spring; the young will remain with mothers throughout the summer and become weaned in the autumn. Mule deer females usually give birth to two fawns, although if it is their first time having a fawn, they often only have one.

The several predators other than humans of mule deer include mountain lions. This leading natural predator often select weak, sickly, or young deer to kill, but will also take down the largest and healthiest mule deer with some regularity, as well.

Bobcats, coyotes, black bears are capable of preying on adult deer, but usually either only attack fawns or infirm specimens or eat the deer after it has died naturally. Thank you to our Business Sponsors who support the protection of the Ojai Valley ». To Our Ojai Community: Thank you for your patience and understanding as we recover from the damage from the Thomas Fire on our trails. In the coming months trails will likely open and close depending on rain and changing trail conditions.

Click here for current information and trail notifications ». Donate Today. California Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus californicus Physical Characteristics It is named for its ears, which are large like those of the mule. Habitat Generally, the California mule deer has a preference for hill terrain, especially an oak woodland habitat. Diet and Behavior California mule deer usually browse close to lakes or streams providing their water source. Breeding Rutting mating season occurs in autumn when does come into estrus for a period lasting only several days.

Predators The several predators other than humans of mule deer include mountain lions. Read More ». The mule deer Odocoileus hemionus can be recognized by its large ears mule-like and black tipped tail. The male is a buck, female is a doe, and young is a fawn. The buck has a set of branching antlers, with each side branching into two main beams, and each beam forking into two tines.

The number of forks, or points, is dependent on the buck’s age, nutrition, and genetics. Antlers are shed each year in January or early February after the breeding season.

New antlers, covered by a soft velvety skin begin growing in late spring. During mid-summer, after normal growth of the antlers is complete, the velvety skin gradually dries and is shed from the antlers. In early fall, as the breeding season approaches, bucks will go into rut. During the rutting, or mating period, bucks spar for females, and become more aggressive as they compete with other bucks for mates.

Mule deer are serially polygynous, one buck mates with many does. Gestation period is about days. Does can give birth to one, two, or three fawns, though triplets are rare. Fawns are born in late spring to mid-summer and are spotted at birth but loose their spots within a few months. Fawns are weaned in the fall after about days and continue to stay with their mothers during the first year.

Fawns will become sexually mature at a year and a half. Deer are generally crepuscular, foraging activity occurs mostly around dawn and dusk, but deer may be active day or night depending on other variables, such as human activity or other disturbances in the area. Deer diets differ across their range, but high quality digestible forage is selected when available. Not all plants are nutritious for deer. Deer feed on grasses and forbs in the spring and summer, however they are primarily browsers.

High quality forage items like young tender shoots, young shrubs, leaves of plants that are high in nutrients, succulent grasses, and forbs are selected. Deer also eat items such as bark, buds, and acorns.

In the high deserts and chaparral, some common plant species that deer forage are: bitterbrush, sagebrush, blackbrush, Ceanothus, and mountain mahogany. Deer may be migratory or resident.