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Mule deer

Odocoileus hemionus


The small herd was basically two does with two fawns each. Deer eat a wide variety of plants, but their main food item is browse—the growing tips of trees and shrubs. In late winter and early spring, deer eat grass, clover, and other herbaceous plants. Their starting to take a toll on the evergreen shrubs that are in the background - making it harder for the fawns to reach the leaves, but they learn quickly and will expand their foraging area.


Spotted in central Washington in the Cascade foothills.


The diets of mule deer are very similar to those of whitetail deer in areas where they coexist. Mule deer are intermediate feeders rather than pure browsers or grazers; they predominantly browse, but also eat forb vegetation, small amounts of grass, and where available, tree or shrub fruits such as beans, pods, nuts (including acorns, and berries. Mule deer readily adapt to agricultural products and landscape plantings. In the Sierra Nevada range, mule deer depend on the lichen Bryoria fremontii as a winter food source. The most common plant species consumed by mule deer are: Among trees and shrubs: Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush), Cercocarpus ledifolius (curlleaf mountain mahogany), Cercocarpus montanus (true mountain mahogany), Cowania mexicana (Mexican cliffrose), Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen), Purshia tridentata (antelope bitterbrush), Quercus gambelii (Gambel oak), and Rhus trilobata (skunkbush sumac). Among forbs: Achillea millefolium (western yarrow), Antennaria sp. (pussytoes), Artemisia frigida (fringed sagebrush), Artemisia ludoviciana (Louisiana sagewort), Aster spp., Astragalus sp. (milkvetch), Balsamorhiza sagittata (arrowleaf balsamroot), Cirsium sp. (thistle), Erigeron spp. (fleabane), Geranium sp., Lactuca serriola (prickly lettuce), Lupinus spp. (lupine), Medicago sativa (alfalfa), Penstemon spp., Phlox spp., Polygonum sp. (knotweed/smartweed), Potentilla spp. (cinquefoil), Taraxacum officinale (dandelion), Tragopogon dubius (western salsify), Trifolium sp. (clover), and Vicia americana (American vetch). Among grasses and grasslike species: Agropyron, Elymus (wheatgrasses), Elytrigia, Pascopyrum sp. (wheatgrasses), Pseudoroegneria spicatum (bluebunch wheatgrass), Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass), Carex spp. (sedge), Festuca idahoensis (Idaho fescue), Poa fendleriana (muttongrass), Poa pratensis (Kentucky bluegrass), and other Poa spp. (bluegrass). Mule deer have also been known to eat ricegrass, gramagrass, bromegrass, and needlegrass, as well as antelope brush, bearberry, bitter cherry, bitterbrush, black oak, California buckeye, ceanothus, cedar, cliffrose, cottonwood, creek dogwood, creeping barberry, dogwood, Douglas fir, elderberry, fendlera, goldeneye, holly-leaf buckthrorn, jack pine, knotweed, kohleria, manzanita, mesquite, oak, pine, rabbitbrush, ragweed, redberry, scrub oak, serviceberry (including Pacific serviceberry), Sierra juniper, silktassel, snowberry, stonecrop, sunflower, tesota, thimbleberry, turbinella oak, velvet elder, western chokecherry, wild cherry, and wild oats. Where available, mule deer also eat a variety of wild mushrooms, which are most abundant in late summer and fall in the southern Rocky Mountains; mushrooms provide moisture, protein, phosphorus, and potassium.(wikipedia)

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Washington, USA

Spotted on Oct 17, 2018
Submitted on Oct 20, 2018

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