Reproduction                                                    photo from microsoft clip art

The season in which the breeding of mule deer occurs is referred to as the rut.  The rut begins in early fall and usually comes to an end in December or January.  Bucks form competitive hierarchies to determine which ones get to mate.  Dominant males usually consist of larger bucks with large antlers.  Bucks will mate with any doe that accepts.


Does remain in estrus for about 24 hours and cycle every 28 days if they do not mate.  Gestation usually lasts about seven months.  Does leave their herds and find areas that are isolated with abundant vegetation and cover to give birth.  This area must also provide protection from predators.  The rate of survival for fawns is dependent upon the environment, disease, and predation.