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12. Mule Deer---Colorado

map showing range of mule deer along western area of Canada, United States and south into Mexico
key for mule deer range map 
Found in the western United States, the mule deer is so named because of its large ears. The mule deer is found throughout the west, but populations have dropped over the past 20 years. One reason is that whitetails have moved west, following river bottoms, and when whitetails move into an area, mule deer numbers decrease. Where both species overlap, hybridization occurs, but is not common, and the hybrids cannot breed successfully. Interestingly, you cannot distinguish a hybrid by its antlers. This particular mule deer was taken in August of 1969 in Colorado. His antlers are still in velvet. His fur looks a bit ratty, but this is normal as they molt from summer pelage to winter during the molting phase in August.


Samuel with mule deer headThis record book velvet buck was taken on my first out-of-state hunt, Colorado, in August, 1970. In that camp I met two bowhunters who asked me to write for a new magazine, Bowhunter, which I’ve done now for 45 years. Yes, this buck led me to a second career and changed my life in a positive way.