This male Columbian black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus columbianus) sort of surprised me as I was heading back down the trail in the late afternoon. The antlers are covered in velvet.
descending Lakes Trail, Mount Rainier National Park
Elevation 1560 meters (4950 feet)
Hiking and botanize in Reflection Lakes and Paradise area of Mount Rainier as part of MeadoWatch
Deer were almost daily visitors to the neighborhood where we stayed in Estes Park. Males and females visited separately. They browsed on the shrubs and weeds.
Observation of this doe confirmed two of my hypotheses. 1. Men don't always go to the Bearpaw Meadow outhouse to urinate. 2. Deer ingest human urine to satisfy nutritional needs.
As I went to a tree near my campsite in Bearpaw Meadow, I noticed a doe watching me intently. As soon as I finished urinating and walked a few feet away from the tree, she ran to the duff I had peed on and gobbled it up. A new hypothesis formed. There must be competition for urine in Bearpaw Meadow Campground.
We saw 4 mule deer (all does and young) in the dry riverbed area below the Success Lake campgrounds. we were on the bluff above and they must have heard us because the spooked and bounded away.
Fresh mountain lion kill from last night. North road looks like a crime scene!
The mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) is a deer indigenous to western North America; it is named for its ears, which are large like those of the mule. There are believed to be several subspecies, including the black-tailed deer. However, some genetic studies have indicated that mule deer may have developed relatively recently through the interbreeding of white-tailed and black-tailed deer, which may have evolved from white-tailed deer thousands of years ago. Unlike the related white-tailed deer...