Saturday, July 30, 2011

Mule Deer at Grasslands National Park

Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, Canada: It was a day for mule deer sightings. By sunset, we’d seen six — bedded down in a field, crossing a meadow, bounding over the road.

Mule deer are the most common species of deer in and around the park, recognizable by their small black-tipped tails — and, for mature males, their wide antler spread.  (And, to me, their mulish ears, but I may be making that up…)

We were lucky to see a male in deep evening dusk on the shoulder of the Park’s Ecotour entry road. I got out of the car and knelt in the stones, hoping to get a clear shot of his antlers above the fence, against the sky. But then he took off, all four legs lifting at once as he bounced across the gravel.

Male mule deer in Grasslands - photo by Shelley Banks
Male mule deer bounding across
Grassland National Park's Ecotour access road   
© SB
Earlier in the day, we surprised a mule deer bedded down in a field.  We later stumbled across a similar grass bed in a nearby pasture where we’d gone to look for tepee rings and other old circles of stones.

Female mule deer - photo by Shelley Banks
Mule deer watching from roadside pasture.  © SB 

Female mule deer - photo by Shelley Banks
Mule deer leaves grass bed for grasses.  © SB 

deer bed - photo by Shelley Banks
Close-up of grass bed in nearby pasture. © SB

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