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Beginning March 23, all ODFW offices will be closed to visitors. ODFW staff will be available by phone and email.

Big Game Hunting

Rocky Mountain mule deer are native to eastern Oregon. Explorers in the early 1800s reported a scarcity of big game, but 20 years later gold miners found abundant deer herds. This century has seen similar fluctuations.

Features:  Mule deer are larger and lighter in color than black-tails. Mule deer have a thinner “ropelike” tail that is white with a black tip. Their antlers are forked, as opposed to having a main beam. And as their name implies, they have large ears, like a mule, that stand at an angle.

Habitat: Mule deer occupy a wide range of habitat types; some live in desert shrub-steppe, some in woodlands, and some in conifer forests. In general, however, mule deer occupy the more open, rugged areas. Although mule deer commonly are considered “browsers," they consume a wide variety of plant material and in some seasons graze extensively. Many herds spend summers on higher elevation range (often public land) and move to lower elevations in the winter (winter range is usually private land) to survive the harsh conditions.

Techniques: Thanks to the more open country of eastern Oregon, it’s easier to spot mule deer using optics. Scent control is important for hunting mule deer. Spot and stalk, hunting blinds, still hunting, and rattling antlers are other techniques used for mule deer.