Spring is coming to Yellowstone! The snow is melting and wolf pups are about a month old, just emerging from the den with ravenous appetites. Wolves no doubt will welcome the upcoming feast of newborn ungulates. We are adding mule deer and their newborns to WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition to give players more options to feed their pups as they journey to the rendezvous site!
When mule deer fawns are born, their mothers leave them hidden while they graze. Hungry carnivores can discover these helpless meals tucked in tall grass, nestled under bushes, or hidden in hollows. What’s the catch? Fawns are scentless, motionless, and very well camouflaged — so they will be harder to find than that old boot! Oh yeah, it’s also prudent to keep an eye out for protective mothers.
Named for their large ears, mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are common in Yellowstone in the summer though in much smaller numbers than elk. Mule deer may sometimes gather in small groups but they do not form large herds. They live in varied habitats throughout Yellowstone: brushy areas, grasslands and coniferous forests. Their top speed is 72 kph (45 mph) — faster than a wolf — and they can change direction with a single bound. Mule deer often use a distinctive bounding leap called stotting (or pronking) that allows them to cover uneven terrain efficiently. This makes them challenging prey to catch. Mule deer also have sharp hooves that smart wolves avoid. Fawns will start out hiding, scentless and motionless in June. Once they are mobile, fawns stay close to their mothers and can also run fast.
Be sure to check out previous posts about mule deer coming in WolfQuest 3: Anniversary Edition (releasing later in 2018):
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