Mule deer are New Mexico's most important big game species. Eskew (compilers), Sustaining aspen in western ecosystems: Symposium proceedings [Proceedings RMRS-P-18], (pp. Ultimately, however, habitat is the key to mule deer populations. We seek to improve the lives of New Mexicans, the nation, and the world through research, teaching, and extension. Later, improved range management favoring grasses over shrubs, control of fires allowing shrublands to grow old or develop into closed forests, and greatly reduced logging all reduced preferred mule deer habitats. Mule deer may also stot, or bounce stiff-leggedly on all four legs, when fleeing. In general, mule deer have been declining in numbers in New Mexico since populations peaked around the 1960s, similar to declines seen throughout the West (Heffelfinger and Messmer, 2003). Normally, a doe has one fawn the first time she gives birth. Likewise, survival of fawns can range from >50% to none surviving, and the latter occurs during droughts when condition of adult females is very poor (Lomas and Bender, 2007). All other rights reserved. Desert mule deer prefer shrublands and woodlands in desert mountain ranges and hills, or arroyos in arid desert flats. The Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance website ( is an excellent source for up-to-date information regarding CWD and its management.

Winter diets may be supplemented with firs, pines, and other evergreens, though in limited quantities because many of these conifers contain secondary plant compounds that are toxic to deer, inhibiting function of their digestive systems. Peaks in mule deer populations in the mid-1900s resulted from obvious and subtle landscape changes associated with human settlement (see, for example, the history in Clements and Young, 1997). Mule deer can live about 10–15 years.

NM-2020-21B-North preview image (click to view): Map ID: NM-2020-21B-South: Species: ALL: Hunt Unit: New Mexico … When they eat, the food is swallowed with a minimum amount of chewing. 1997.

Original author: James E. Knight, Extension Wildlife Specialist. Lomas, L.A., and L.C. 2003. Headrick (Eds. GMU 2A: That portion of GMU 2 west of the Los Pinos River (Pine Arm of Navajo Reservoir) and north of the San Juan River. Condition, survival, and productivity of mule deer in semiarid grassland-woodland in east-central New Mexico. Whether mule deer need free water is uncertain; they can probably meet their needs from succulent foods. These supply the protein and minerals needed for the growth of antlers, which are the fastest-growing tissues in the animal kingdom. Revised by Louis C. Bender and Chris Allison Human-Wildlife Interactions, 6, 245—260. © 2017 New Mexico State University - Board of Regents, College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), Pocket Guide to the Native Bees of New Mexico, Pocket Guide to the Beneficial Insects of New Mexico.

The Rocky Mountain mule deer is larger; the average field-dressed weight of mature (6 years or older) males (bucks) is around 195 lb, with larger deer weighing more than 250 lb. Predators kill deer in New Mexico each year. There is little actual fighting between bucks because dominance hierarchy has usually been established before peak rutting periods occur. 1–11). Because of this, most populations contain only 25–50 bucks for every 100 does. Learn more about our mission and programs. His research and management programs emphasize ungulate and carnivore management, integrated wildlife and livestock habitat management, and wildlife enterprises in the Southwest and internationally. The breeding season or rut for mule deer in New Mexico begins in late November (northern areas of the state) and lasts until mid-January (southern areas). Thus, the welfare of mule deer in New Mexico is influenced by other uses of forests and rangelands. College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico State University, Authors: Respectively, Senior Research Scientist (Wildlife) and Retired Extension Range Management Specialist, Department of Extension Animal Sciences and Natural Resources, New Mexico State University. The chief animals that prey upon deer are mountain lions, black bears, Mexican wolves, coyotes, bobcats, and feral dogs. They prefer higher-quality foods like forbs (commonly called weeds) and browse (leaves, buds, and new shoots of shrubs and trees), but they also utilize grasses when young and actively growing as well as succulents.

Figure 4. During their first few days, they remain hidden and alone except when feeding (Figure 4).

Most of the remainder of the diet is forbs, and grasses and succulents (e.g., cacti) usually contribute much less than 10% seasonally. This is influenced by time of year, activity, and the kind of forage the deer is eating. Heffelfinger, J.R., and T.A. Journal of Wildlife Management, 71, 884–894. 2006. Guidelines for management of habitat for mule deer: Piñon-juniper, Chihuahuan desert, arid grasslands, and associated arid habitat types [Circular 662]. Antler size and number of points depend mostly on the deer's age, physical condition, and their genetic background (Bender, 2011). (Photo by Terry Spivey, USDA Forest Service,

Thus, permanent watering spots should be retained and created where desired, especially in desert mule deer ranges. A characteristic feature of the mule deer is the large white rump patch that surrounds the base of the tail.

The does are receptive for about three days. Because of population declines, harvests of mule deer have also declined; deer harvests (mostly mule deer), estimated to be as high as 55,000 in 1960, declined to <10,000 in 2013. The antlers are shed following the breeding season each winter, and new antlers begin growing shortly after the old ones are dropped. Conover, and N.E. Availability of water can influence deer use of a particular area.

Journal of Wildlife Management, 71, 1118—1124.

Condition, survival, and cause-specific mortality of mule deer in northcentral New Mexico. Shepperd, D. Binkley, D.L. Owners who want to improve mule deer habitat on private lands should keep in mind a wide range of considerations. Land use policies developed by land management agencies are an important component of mule deer management. Rocky Mountain mule deer are found from above the timberline to low-elevation short grasslands, and frequently in urban areas. The dark brown scat of mule deer is usually found in clumps. 2011.

In general, mule deer have been declining in numbers in New Mexico since populations peaked around the 1960s, similar to declines seen throughout the West (Heffelfinger and Messmer, 2003). No permanent bond is formed between bucks and does. Browsing by deer leaves jagged twig ends. HD is a viral disease that affects deer, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep; it is spread by biting gnats or midges (Culicoides spp.). Rocky Mountain mule deer are found in the northern two-thirds of the state and desert mule deer in the southern third.

The jagged, shredded end of the twig results when the lower incisors pinch the twig against the toothless upper gums.

Fort Collins: U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Outbreaks occur during late summer or early autumn, usually in close proximity to wet areas. They take a bite and move on, spending little time in one spot, selecting the best foods that are available. Habitat changes resulting from extensive logging, initial overgrazing of grasslands, and large wildfires greatly favored mule deer by creating large areas of shrublands and early successional (saplings) forests. The size of the mule deer population in New Mexico is unknown, and densities of mule deer can vary greatly among areas and over time.

Typically >80% of unhunted mule deer adults in New Mexico survive each year, although this can drop to <60% during severe droughts (Bender et al., 2007, 2010, 2011). Game Management Unit 24 Maps for GMU 24 BLM Maps: Deming Quad, Hatch Quad, Mogollon Mountains Quad, Silver City Quad, and Truth or Consequences Quad. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Contents of publications may be freely reproduced for educational purposes. Figure 5. For example, densities of mule deer ranged from an estimated <1.2 deer/mi2 on private land in Colfax County to <1.9 deer/mi2 on New Mexico State University's Corona Range and Livestock Research Center (CRLRC), while a recent minimum count found 3.7 deer/mi2 in higher-density areas of the San Andres Mountains (Bender et al., 2011, 2012; L. Bender, unpublished data). When predation is additive to other mortality factors, then predation can limit deer populations. Bartos, T.J. Stohlgren, and L.G.

New Mexico GMU 21B North, Hunting Unit Map, New Mexico GMU 21B South, Hunting Unit Map. During outbreaks, some deer die quickly with no apparent signs of disease, others may die within a week, some recover but are debilitated, and still other deer show no sign of disease during outbreaks, and survivors may develop immunity to that particular virus serotype (but not necessarily other HD virus serotypes).

New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. The track is from 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 inches long, and the walking stride is 22 to 24 inches long.

Fawns get up on their feet only hours after birth, but they are rather unsteady and very susceptible to predation. Unlike the white-tailed deer, the mule deer does not raise its tail in alarm, but holds it against the body as it flees. When the mule deer runs, all four feet leave the ground at once, unlike the white-tailed deer, which pushes off with its hind feet. Antlers from a white-tailed deer. Cooperative Extension programs, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Mule Deer Working Group (, and State Wildlife Agencies all have publications and other information available on increasing the quality of deer habitat. 2011. Whether predation is mostly additive or mostly compensatory varies with the specific local conditions of the predator and prey communities, and their surroundings.

The scarred and broken branches and bark are easily observed about 18 inches above the ground.

Game Management Unit 21B Maps for GMU 21B BLM Maps: Deming Quad, Hatch Quad, Las Cruces Quad, San Mateo Mountains Quad, and Truth or Consequences Quad. Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is an invariably fatal degenerative neurological disease of deer, elk, and moose. Mule deer bucks have antlers that are forked (Figure 2) instead of being like a white-tailed deer's, whose points rise from the main beam (Figure 3). Bartos, D.L. These are, as noted previously, mainly browse and forbs.

Heffelfinger, J. Mule deer are classed as concentrate selectors, meaning they eat lesser amounts of very high-quality foods; hence, they select for foods with high concentrations of readily digestible nutrients such as simple sugars. 2007.

Rodden. This, combined with a faster metabolism than elk or cattle, is what drives their need for high-quality, easily digestible foods. Access district and public hunting land maps.

These changes have decreased the amount of mule deer habitat in New Mexico and throughout the West. Shop New Mexico Hunt Maps. This continued movement ensures a properly balanced diet if sufficient plant species are present.

Factors influencing survival of desert mule deer in the greater San Andres Mountains, New Mexico.

So, what does the future hold for mule deer? Game Management Unit 2A The selected The summer coat is fine and silky in texture and the winter coat is coarser and thicker.

Malnutrition is the most common cause of death (excluding hunting) in studied mule deer populations in New Mexico. Get the latest species and season information. Common foods in northern New Mexico include aspen, chokecherry, oaks, bearberry, bitterbrush, mountain mahogany, and most other shrubs in the rose family (Rosaceae). Each pellet is about 1/2 inch long and tapered on one end. Malnutrition is the most common disease of mule deer (Bender et al., 2007, 2010, 2011), and when other diseases and parasitism cause mortality, the actual underlying cause is usually poor-quality food that causes malnourishment.