Visiting Mule Deer

Our property (Modoc County CA) is fenced and crossed fenced with strong, sturdy fences. Large numbers of pronghorn (Antilocapra americanna) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) wander about the wildlife area across the road and in the nearby fields and pastures. Although the deer are frequent visitors on our property and come right up to the house, we never get the pronghorn, also called pronghorn antelope, in our pastures. Our lush grasses should be very attractive to the pronghorn. Why do they not join the mule deer in the yard?

Deer are jumpers while pronghorn, for the most part, do not jump or leap. The mule deer easily bound over the fences on our property and thus are able to get into securely fenced areas. (Friends  must build fences at least seven or eight feet tall around their gardens to keep the mule deer from munching their plants.) Pronghorn on the other hand do not jump over fences, but rather find an open gate or break in a fence to move from one field or pasture to another. Since there are no open gates or downed fences on our land, the pronghorn have no egress or exit, so we do not enjoy their immediate company.

I have often watched herds of pronghorn (once nearly 300 animals) walk across the road single file  through a downed fence on one side of the road into an open gate on the other. Pronghorn will jump over small obstacles. Once or twice I have seen a single animal go over a partially downed fence. But that is a very rare occurrence.

On the same day that Leonard and I saw the three unusual birds I mentioned last week, a group of mule deer wandered around our back deck just before sunset. There were five bucks and six does. One doe appeared to be in estrous and was very attractive to one buck, but unreceptive. The deer nibbled on the grass and leaves in the yard and even came up onto the deck to drink from the heated water dish. (An average mule deer needs to drink about a gallon and a half of water a day.) They eventually wandered off, jumping over the fences surrounding the driveway into our central pasture.

These pictures were taken from my kitchen window. The black animal behind the jumping buck is a cow one pasture over.

Leonard and I enjoy our mule deer visitors, but wish the pronghorn were able to come by the yard too.

Gallery | This entry was posted in Mammals and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Visiting Mule Deer

  1. usermattw says:

    How wonderful to have these creatures in your yard!

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