Saturday, January 02, 2016

Tracking Deer

This adult male Mule Deer - Odocoileus hemionus - was looking for a place to cross the Elbow River but the depth, the current, or the cold was daunting.

The deer in the photo is a Mule Deer. The larger ears, white rump patch, and darker brown tip to the tail are the markers for this species.

This male had all four points on the antlers, which confirms he is at least two years old. The average male lives about 8 years. Females live longer and up to 12 years. 

The tracks in the snow above and below might be either a Mule Deer or a White-tailed Deer. The tracks are too similar to differentiate. The usual track impression (photo above) shows only the larger third and fourth toes (hooves). When the snow is deeper (photo below), you can see the 2nd and fourth toes (dewclaws) behind the hooves. 

The scat below is very fresh (glistening so still a bit wet) and might be either from a Mule or a White-tailed Deer. 

Based on the pattern, the deer urine in the photo above is likely a male (strong straight stream) and the urine in the photo below is likely from a female (scattered stream). 


Naughton, Donna. The Natural History of Canadian Mammals. University of Toronto Press. 2012.

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