December 1, 2012

Outdoor profile: Mule deer

Odocoileus hemionus

Odocoileus hemionus

Fortunate are the firearms deer hunters that have permits to shoot mule deer in western Kansas.

Unlike white-tailed deer, Kansas’ mule deer population isn’t overly abundant, so biologists issue a limited number of permits every year.

Now mostly confined to the western one-third of the state, mule deer once roamed in scattered pockets as far east as the Flint Hills. As recently as 25 years ago mule deer were common in the Red Hills west of Medicine Lodge.

Biologists say habitat changes may have pushed the range westward, as could being out-competed for food and other things by white-tailed deer.

Unlike whitetails, mule deer does rarely breed their first year and often have just one fawn.

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