Mule Deer

 

We spotted this big mule deer while in South Dakota and the Bad Lands a few years ago…

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Where do mule deer live?

Mule deer and black-tailed deer (collectively called mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus) are icons of the American West. They are distributed throughout western North America from the coastal islands of Alaska, down the West Coast to southern Baja Mexico and from the northern border of the Mexican state of Zacatecas, up through the Great Plains to the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and the southern Yukon Territory.

What do mule deer eat?

Mule deer are primarily browsers, with a majority of their diet comprised of forbs (weeds) and browse (leaves and twigs of woody shrubs).

Deer digestive tracts differ from cattle and elk in that they have a smaller rumen in relation to their body size, so they must be more selective in their feeding. Instead of eating large quantities of low-quality feed like grass, deer must select the most nutritious plants and parts of plants.

Because of this, deer have more specific forage requirements than larger ruminants.

Why is mule deer and black-tailed deer habitat conservation necessary?

The MDF’s mission is necessary due to loss of habitat, predators, poaching, highways crossing through the middle of transitional ranges, and subdivisions being built on winter ranges.

Only landscape-scale conservation efforts can make long-term gains in mule deer abundance in many areas.

What does a mule deer look like?

Mule deer are generally easy to identify due to their large mule-like ears (generally 3/4 the length of the head).

They usually have a distinctive black forehead, or mask, that contrasts sharply with a light grey face. The lighter facial coloration makes the eye rings and muzzle markings seem less obvious.

Mule deer are brownish-gray in color, have a white rump patch and a small white tail with a black tip.

How long do mule deer live?

Mule deer usually live 9-11 years in the wild and can live to be much older when in captivity.

How big are mule deer?

Mule deer range from 3 to 3-1/2 feet tall at the shoulder, 4-1/2 to 7 feet long and have a tail that is 5 to 8 inches long. They can weigh between 130-280 pounds. The female deer are smaller than the male.

For more information visit here...

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And a little Bad Lands landscape…

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Nature Notes

Just Keeps Snowing…

 

We had a blizzard warning for this past weekend, mixed with high winds and dangerously low wind chills.  -20 to -30 below zero, brrrrr! 

My wonderful husband was the one to venture out and do chores and keep our road from drifting shut and the neighbors plowed our this weekend.  He had came inside to warm up for a minute and decided he needed a kiss.  Umm, no thanks honey, I’ll wait until you thaw out!

He also spotted this hawk hunkered down in the storm.  At first we weren’t sure what type of a bird it was…

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Only 17 more days until Spring, right?!

I can’t wait for warmer days and to enjoy Montana’s wild flowers again…

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Palling Around

Miss Emmalynn and Gunnar…

P1130241When Emmalynn woke up she had seen that it snowed and kept pestering everyone about going sledding. They were all busy getting school work and chores done for the day and they promised to take her later.  She acted like she was alright with that answer.  Soon enough we heard the door open and close and when I went to investigate I found this little girl out, playing with Gunnar…P1130246

So much for waiting!

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Double Date…

This past Saturday we had a double date with my parents…

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My mother is the primary care-giver, support person, and everything else to her sister, who is going through the final stages of terminal brain cancer.  My mom is the most caring person I know and would do anything to help anyone.  She works a more than full-time job at a busy health clinic and then spends her evenings and early mornings with her sister in the hospital.  She’s starting to run low, so we kidnapped her for the afternoon and evening and went to her favorite spot, took some pictures, froze to death and waited for the sun to set…

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There wasn’t much color that night but we had fun.  Afterwards, we met my brother who happened to be in town for supper.  I think we all had a great time and it was wonderful to see my mom laugh and smile again.

 

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Skywatch Friday

Beautiful Day with the Boys…

After the fog cleared early last Monday, we were graced with a virtually cloud-free, blue sky day.  I knew I needed to head to Glacier, even if it was just for a few hours…

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That afternoon was virtually windless making Lake McDonald very glass like!  Actually, I don’t remember ever seeing it as smooth as it was that day.P1120188

Two of the boys also decided to tag along…

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Rurality Blog Hop #43

Cranes…

 

Sandhill Cranes in Tetons National Park…

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Cool Facts

  • The Sandhill Crane’s call is a loud, rolling, trumpeting sound whose unique tone is a product of anatomy: Sandhill Cranes have long tracheas (windpipes) that coil into the sternum and help the sound develop a lower pitch and harmonics that add richness.

  • Sandhill Cranes are known for their dancing skills. Courting cranes stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air in a graceful and energetic dance.

  • The elegance of cranes has inspired people in cultures all over the world—including the great scientist, conservationist, and nature writer Aldo Leopold, who wrote of their “nobility, won in the march of aeons.”

  • Although some start breeding at two years of age, Sandhill Cranes may reach the age of seven before breeding. They mate for life—which can mean two decades or more—and stay with their mates year-round. Juveniles stick close by their parents for 9 or 10 months after hatching.

  • The earliest Sandhill Crane fossil, estimated to be 2.5 million years old, was unearthed in the Macasphalt Shell Pit in Florida.

  • Sandhill Crane chicks can leave the nest within 8 hours of hatching, and are even capable of swimming.

  • The oldest Sandhill Crane on record was at least 36 years, 7 months old. Originally banded in Wyoming in 1973, it was found in New Mexico in 2010.

For more information, please visit here…

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