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I own no land, instead I have wheelestate. I’ve been a full time RVer since 1997. Working summers as a Park Ranger takes me to many beautiful places and playing during the winter takes me to many more. This blog is simply the story of my life's adventures.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

MWT - Bucks in Velvet: All dressed up and no where to go

01 Mule Deer NR GRCA NP AZ

Must be that time of year to fatten up on the lush greens. Saw two Mule Deer bucks happily browsing between the empty mule corral and the generator building (just in case of power failure).

02 Mule Deer NR GRCA NP AZ

Mule Deer are browsers and eat a great variety of vegetable matter, including fresh green leaves, twigs, lower branches of trees, and various grasses. They eat so carefully they can even consume the fruit of cactus.

03 Mule Deer NR GRCA NP AZ

The Mule Deer carries its thin, black-tipped tail drooped, unlike the uplifted, bushy white tail of its eastern cousin. They have large ears that move constantly and independently and thus the name Mule Deer.

04 Mule Deer NR GRCA NP AZ

They have a distinctly different gait from the leisurely, graceful leaps of the white-tail deer. When startled, a Mule Deer will move in a series of stiff-legged jumps up to 8 yards (7.3 m) with all four feet hitting the ground together. In this way they can reach a speed of 45 mph for short periods.

05 Mule Deer NR GRCA NP AZ

Mule Deer are active primarily in mornings, evenings and moonlit nights. This inactivity during the heat of the day is a behavioral adaptation to the desert environment that conserves water and keeps the body temperature within livable limits. Sweat glands and panting also provide evaporative cooling during hot periods. During the middle of the day, the Mule Deer beds down in a cool, secluded place. Another physical adaptation, its larger feet, allows the Mule Deer to claw out water as much as two feet deep, which it detects with its keen sense of smell.

06 Mule Deer NR GRCA NP AZ

Antler growth begins in the spring. Antlers are a true bone, covered with "velvet," a soft, skin-like tissue that carries nourishment and calcium for the rapidly growing antlers. Full growth is attained in late summer with the tines forking into a series of Y's and rising above the head. After the antler growth is completed, the blood-supplying velvet is no longer needed and begins to fall or get rubbed off. This leaves the antlers shiny and hard. Mule Deer breed in late November and early December. A buck will find a suitable doe and they will often play chase games at breakneck speeds before mating. They will remain together for several days. then late each winter the antlers fall off, and with spring, the growth cycle begins again.

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23 comments:

Jazz said...

They are absolutely beautiful! Gorgeous pics Gaelyn.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I do think they are one of the prettiest creatures on Earth.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Such lovely photographs. It always amazes me the difference between the buck (deer) in S.Africa and in America or Europe. Why do one loose their antlers and the others do not? Diane

Diane AZ said...

What an awesome sighting, Gaelyn! They do look very handsome with their velvety antlers. Great pictures and info!

Silver Fox said...

Very nice buck pictures! You must have gotten really close.

Sylvia K said...

Love your terrific photos, Gaelyn! So fun to see them up close! And I really enjoyed the information about them. Some of it I knew, most of it I didn't! Hope your having a great holiday weekend! Enjoy!

Sylvia

Barb said...

Hi Gaelyn, Obviously these Mule deer weren't in the least disturbed by the photo shoot! I'm catching up and wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your shots of the Condor, too - what a surprise to see them so close-up!

It's Just Dottie said...

I look at your lovely photos everyday and dream.
Dottie

J Bar said...

Marvellous captures.

Indrani said...

They look majestic, such wonderful close captures.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Gaelyn: What wonderful photos of the big bucks, they have great racks.

LadyFi said...

Wow - what fabulous pictures of those glorious velvety antlers!

Small City Scenes said...

Excellent shots. I seldom see Bucks here. Ocassionally a spike but that's it. Many Doe and Fawns.
Thanks for the great info. MB

Luna Miranda said...

these are captivating photos! they totally love your and your camera!

Firefly said...

Wow, now you teached me something. I always knew that our antelope have horns which they keep permanently and that your deer have antlers that fall off and regrow every year. What I didn't know was about the velvity hair on them.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Wonderful info with this Gaelyn. Thank you.

KaHolly said...

Certainly enjoyed your informative post and envy your opportunity. They are beautiful animals. Thank you for visiting my blog. We live in two opposite worlds! ~karen

Jenn said...

Lovely creatures. This post reminds me of my trip to the Rockies last year. Great captures.

Camels & Chocolate said...

Awww, I just want to go rub my face all over their velvet-y antlers! Though I'm guessing that might not go over so well, eh?

Martha Z said...

Beautiful bucks! I hope that they stay in the park come hunting season or those racks will be on someone’s wall. I guess since we have eliminated most predators the hunter is a necessity to keep the herd from growing too large.

Janie said...

Interesting post on the mule deer. I love the photos of their velvety antlers.

blog with no name said...

It's too bad that Rudolf had a cold and couldn't come out and play...

ramblingwoods.com said...

I didn't know about antlers..seems like a lot of nutritional resources for one season......The mule deer are cute...

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