• Red cliffs descend into the water of Bighorn Canyon

    Bighorn Canyon

    National Recreation Area MT,WY

Mule Deers

Mule Deers just off Ok-A-Beh Road
Mule Deers just off Ok-A-Beh Road.
NPS (Henthorne)

The "Jumping Deer"
Westerners call them “mulies” because of their huge, black fringed ears. The best characteristics for positive identification are a narrow, white tail tipped in black and the branched horns on the bucks. Also distinguishing this species is the mule deer’s method of bounding away by pushing off with all four feet at once and landing the same way. It is this stiff-legged, spring driven bounce that has also given them the name “jumping deer.” It has been recorded that a deer can jump an 8 foot fence and perform a running long jump of 25 feet.

Giving Birth
The first time a doe gives birth it will be a single fawn; all subsequent births will produce twins and occasionally triplets. The first three days of a fawns life are very critical to its survival. It must remain motionless and rely on protective coloration to avoid predators. Growth for the fawn is quick and weaning begins very casually in a few weeks. Spots are present until late August when they are gradually replaced by winter hair.

Sighting Mulies
These creatures are quite common in the recreation area and the best time to view them is in the early morning or evening.

Did You Know?

Fort Smith Monument, photo by S. Dalby

Fort C.F. Smith, was the most isolated of the posts which guarded the Bozeman Trail. Active from August 1866 to July 1868, it was under constant threat from the Sioux and Northern Cheyenne tribes during Red Cloud’s War. The U.S. government was forced to abandon the fort and trail. Some historians have called this conflict, “the first war the United States ever lost.” More...