They’ve got big ears. They bound around on spring-loaded legs. Tourists love to see them. Hunters enjoy the sport they offer and the meat they provide for the table. They live throughout Colorado and are a valuable part of Colorado’s wildlife heritage. They’re mule deer, the iconic deer of the American West.
“The time was in Colorado when deer were so plentiful that it seemed almost impossible for them to be killed off; but with the increase in population; and the more general settling-up of our state, the deer have been killed; until now they must be carefully protected, or they will meet the fate of the buffalo and become entirely extinct.”— Colorado Game and Fish Commissioner James Shinn, 1911
Managing Mule Deer on a Changing Landscape
Coloradans love their long-eared muleys, but decisions on their management can’t be based solely on tradition, science or social trends. They must incorporate all these things.
Sustaining mule deer numbers at an optimal level for the future lies in collaboration… between citizens, farmers and ranchers, government, biologists, hunters, conservationists and everyone who cares about the future of Colorado wildlife. To learn more about mule deer management in Colorado, please read The Story of Colorado’s Mule Deer.
Photos are by Wayne D. Lewis. Wayne is the editor and art director of Colorado Outdoors. He is based in Denver.