Mule deer are coming to the menu later this year! But you’ll have to be fast to catch them, as they escape from danger with a speedy bouncy four-legged gait called stotting or pronking.
Why did we choose mule deer and not white-tail deer? Though both are present in Yellowstone, mule deer are far more common, especially in the summer. Mule deer live in more varied habitats – brushy areas, grasslands and coniferous forests –so you’ll will see them throughout the map. As fellow ungulates, mule deer are similar to elk in many ways. They don’t live in herds but they are “variably gregarious” so they do hang out in groups sometimes.
As Tower Fall begins in July, bucks will be busy growing their antlers in preparation for the fall mating season. Does will be raising their fawns and trying to keep those pesky predators at bay. Fawns stay close to their mothers, who put up a fierce defense.
Later in the episode, mule deer will give your growing pups some hunting practice, even if they can’t bring down a deer yet. While adult deer are fast and fierce (don’t underestimated those hooves!), young hunters might have some luck with fawns. Just hope they watch out for mom.
Mule deer have more than wolves to worry about in WolfQuest. Other predators like coyotes, cougars, and bears enjoy a meal of venison too. Of course, your competition is also more than happy to let you do the hard work and then try to steal your meal from you. You best eat quickly and bring back a deer haunch to the family.
We will add mule deer to all maps in the existing game, as well as to Tower Fall.
Interesting Facts about Mule Deer
A few months ago, our WolfQuest Giveaway Contest asked for three interesting facts about mule deer. Here are some of the highlights that players shared:
- Mule deer got their name because their long ears look like mule ears.
Mule deer are found throughout the entire western United States.
The size of a buck’s antlers is determined by age, genetics, and nutrition. Mule deer antlers are bifurcated; they "fork" as they grow, rather than branching from a single main beam. Antlers grow in the summer months and are soft, coated with velvet. Females do not grow antlers.
Mule deer have no upper teeth, only a hard palate.
Mule deer stand 40 to 42 inches tall at the shoulders and weigh an average of 92 kg (203 lb). Males, or bucks, are larger than the females, known as does.
Like many prey animals, mule deer eyes are on the sides of their heads so they have a 310 degree view.
Mule deer can run up to 45 miles per hour and can change their running direction with a single bound. They often use a distinctive bounding leap called stotting (or pronking) which allows them to cover uneven terrain efficiently. Some scientists also think stotting allows them to look around as they run and perhaps serves as demonstration of their strength and vigor, thus discouraging predators.
Mule deer can live 9-11 years in the wild.
Mule deer females usually give birth to two fawns, although first-time mothers often have just one.
Some biologists estimate that a mule deer's sense of smell is up to 1,000 times stronger than a human's.
They are most active mornings and evenings. At night they bed down in beds' of flattened areas of grass or leaves.