White-tailed and mule deer live in North Dakota.  Mule deer are found mainly in the western part of the state (west of the Missouri River) and especially in the badlands.  White-tailed deer are widespread in North Dakota and can be found in the badlands as well.  Mule deer are excellent climbers up steep hills while white-tailed deer like river bottoms in western North Dakota.

Mule Deer Fun Facts

  • They are found in western and central United States, south central Canada and northern Mexico
  • The mule deer is named for the large "mule like" ears
  • They have a black tip to their otherwise white tail
  • Mule deer antlers "fork" as they grow
  • They often spring when they move (called stotting or pronking)
  • Males average 200 pounds and females 150 pounds, although both can be larger
  • Babies (fawns- usually two) are born in the spring, grow quickly and are weaned in the fall

Mule deer can jump several feet high and as long as 15 feet!

Fun Facts- Are these Antlers or Horns?

  1. Horns
  • Are hollow and grow from the base and made of keratin
  • Bison, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and pronghorns have horns
  • Only pronghorn shed their horns annually
  • Bison, sheep and goats grow their horns continuously and if they fall off, they don't grow back

  1. Antlers
  • Are made of solid bone
  • Deer, elk, caribou, deer, moose have antlers
  • Both male and female caribou have antlers, otherwise only male deer, moose and elk have antlers
  • Antlers fall off every year.  They grow from the tip

White-tailed Deer Fun Facts

  • They are found east of the Rocky Mountains extending to Canada, Mexico, Central and northern South America
  • White-tailed deer have the largest territory of any hoofed mammal in the Western Hemisphere
  • They like aspen forrests and river bottomlands with trees in western North Dakota
  • Their ears are smaller and more erect than mule deer
  • Their antlers branch from the stem and don't fork like mule deer
  • Their average size is larger the farther away from the Equator and northern males can reach 400 pounds
  • Babies (fawns- 1 to 3) are generally born  in May or June. For the first four weeks, fawns usually hide and lie still in vegetation

Mule or White-tailed Deer?

Mule Deer

White-tailed Deer

Mule Deer

White-tailed Deer

2019 Photographs

Frosty Mule Deer!

Getting the Scent!

Moving Fast- Mule Deer can run up to 45 mph!

2020 Photographs

How do deer survive harsh winter weather?

Like many other mammals, deer physically prepare for the winter by better insulating their bodies. In the fall, deer gradually trade their summer hair coat for a winter one, which consists of thicker, longer, and darker hairs called guard hairs, while also growing in a much thicker undercoat.


This winter coat absorbs more sunlight and traps more body heat than the summer coat, and provides an extraordinary amount of protection from the cold. Deer also have oil-producing glands in their skin that help make their hair water repellent, which is especially valuable in the snow. For further insulation, their bodies also begin to retain more fat in layers during the fall.


Deer also alter their behavior to survive the winter. They are generally less active, sometimes dropping their metabolism by half, which allows them to save energy and eat less. Deer may physically hunker down during particularly harsh weather—not moving for days, even to eat— which is made possible by relying on their fat stores.


Deer also typically seek areas that are more sheltered in which to rest and eat, such as stands of coniferous trees that maintain their needles during the winter and allow snow to build up, both of which help provide some wind resistance and possibly cover. These areas, sometimes known as "deer yards," may encompass many—if not hundreds—of acres, providing shelter for lots of deer.


Usually deer can comfortably survive the winter by eating their usual diet of twigs, stems, grasses, and other plants wherever they typically would find them, as well as by supplementing with higher-calorie foods such as nuts, fruits, and even mushrooms. Because deer are generally browsers, like goats, and not grazers, like cows or sheep, they do not need to get under the snow to eat, though they can and sometimes will.

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