Mule Deer

Earth Notes: mule deer fall migration

Oct 6, 2021
Arizona Game and Fish Department/George Andrejko

It’s fall and mule deer are on the move from summer to winter range on the Colorado Plateau.  These large charismatic mammals are faithful to fixed routes during their seasonal travels.  And it turns out a few are doing marathon migrations.  

In 2008, biologists with the Arizona Game and Fish Department started a tracking project to see how deer could navigate hazards along their set routes--especially crossing busy Highway 64 between the San Francisco Peaks and the Grand Canyon.

Arizona Game and Fish officials are looking for information relating to a mule deer poaching on the Kaibab Plateau.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking hunters to help monitor the potential spread of Chronic Wasting Disease---a neurodegenerative wildlife disease fatal to deer and elk.

Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish Department put radio collars on twenty mule deer near the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff, to track their movements over the next three years. The data will identify wildlife corridors where deer travel from one place to another, and may eventually lead to highway projects that create safer roads for both drivers and deer. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with biologist Jeff Gagnon about the federally funded experiment.

Twenty mule deer near Flagstaff have been outfitted with collars to study their movement.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department captured and collared the deer last month around the San Francisco Peaks. Biologists are using data from the collars to learn more about the daily and seasonal movement of the deer.

Traffic engineers and wildlife officials say the information will help guide planning for future road projects to avoid collisions between vehicles and the animals, and to protect the deer's habitat.