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Western United States specifically the state of Utah 2017 brought some of the most harsh winter weather seen in years! In Utah it is not uncommon to receive depths of snow in the 200 inch range this year with depths of 300 to over 400 inches has created problems for not only people but more so for the animals that live in the high mountains. One of those animals is the Rocky Mountain Mule Deer or ( Odocoileus hemionus ) this Herbivorous have no choice but to retreat to lower elevations in searc
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Photo 1. Mule Deer 5330 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). The Mule Deer are working hard to find enough food! this is the end of January and the tops of the sage brush are all that is available this is the time all Wildlife struggles.
Photo 2. Mule Deer 5276 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). All of the large game has had to move to the lowest elevations in their winter ranges the Mule Deer are in a fight against the weather.Not only weather but now the deer are exposed to predators and they are nature’s way of culling some of them so others may have a chance.
Photo 3. Mule Deer 4826 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). 2017 winter range in the northern Utah mountain valleys the Mule Deer are working hard trying to keep their body fat supplies.Living on the branches of sage brush once they have ate the soft tops the only thing left is the hard bottom branches that have little nutrition and very few natural sugars.
Photo 4. Mule Deer 4817 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). Mule Deer resting under a cedar tree it is January 2017 the snow is deep and the temps are low.Because the heavy deep snow is hard for the Mule deer to push through some of them opt to stay next to trees like this pinion pine and use the tree as a wind and snow break.
Photo 5. Mule Deer 4795 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). Nothing goes better then Mule Deer bucks and sagebrush in the winter.A great time to photograph the Mule Deer but as you watch how hard they have to work to get through the snow you wonder if you will be able to find them in the weeks to come.
Photo 6. Mule Deer 4769 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). When the snow gets deep the Mule Deer have only one choice and that is to move down from the back country to the lower levels and into farmers fields.Not only do the Mule Deer have to contend with the snow and also predators now they have moved closer to roadways and more deer are killed in the winter by vehicles and farmers fences then by predators.
Photo 7. Mule Deer 4587 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). 2017 in the northern Utah mountains Mule Deer are now contending with deep snow and below zero temps.Once the storms move out for a few days the Mule Deer create paths that then become well used highways and getting from place to place becomes a little easier.
Photo 8. Mule Deer 4822 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). Snow storms are driving the Mule Deer lower and lower into their winter range.And what looks like a lot to forage on may have already had the most nourishing soft branches eaten.
Photo 9. Mule Deer 4476 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). Four Mule Deer bucks crossing a snow covered field in a mountain valley in northern Utah.Early snow hardly deep enough to give the Mule Deer problems for now still has grasses showing threw.
Photo 10. Mule Deer 4436 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). Winter snows bring new challenges to the Mule Deer that live in the mountain valleys in northern Utah.Steep hillsides slow the progress of the Mule Deer but Nature has given this animal four very steady legs!
Photo 11. Mule Deer 4073 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). With the first snows in the valley and the rut still ongoing some of the best places to view Mule Deer are in the farmers fields.Now is when the farmers are feeding their cattle hay and as the winter goes on their herds will grow by one or to Mule deer but there is nothing the farmers can do at this time.
Photo 12. Mule Deer 4737 ( Odocoileus Hemionus ). Mule Deer make their move across an open field.Safety for the Mule deer is best when in a group!
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