Common Name

Scientific Name


Photo by Lynn Chamberlain
Photo Copyright Lynn Chamberlain

The mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus, occurs in the western half of North America, from southeastern Alaska to Mexico. The species is common state-wide in Utah, where it can be found in many types of habitat, ranging from open deserts to high mountains to urban areas. Mule deer often migrate from high mountainous areas in the summer to lower elevations in the winter to avoid deep snow. The mule deer is an extremely popular game animal in Utah; tens of thousands of hunters pursue mule deer in Utah each year.

Mating occurs in late fall, and females may produce a litter of one or two fawns in late spring or early summer. Mule deer are browsers that primarily eat shrubs and other woody material, although grasses are also consumed. The species is active throughout the year, mainly at dawn and dusk. The major threat to mule deer in Utah is habitat loss; the loss of lower elevation winter range can be especially devastating.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1980. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 289 pp.