Mule Deer — “We’re Coming, Mom!”
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A few days ago I took a drive with my friend Sam to the hills just north of the Santa Catalina mountain range that sits on Tucson’s northern edge. The area is less than an hour from our neighborhood, which is located just to the south of the Santa Catalinas. However, the terrain is quite different because of the change of elevation. The lands bounding the Santa Catalinas to the north are considerably higher in elevation than those sitting south of the mountains. The higher elevation there lends to a cooler and somewhat wetter climate than that which is found by us on the mountains’ south side. The rolling hills on the north have much more grass than have the lands to the south.
Those hills are ideal terrain for Mule Deer. Mule Deer are one of two deer species to be found around Tucson (the other species is White-tailed Deer). Mule Deer are considerably larger than White Tails. They get their name from their huge ears.
Sam parked his truck on a ridge overlooking a fairly deep ravine. After a moment we spotted several Mule Deer running up the ravine’s opposite side. These included a doe and her two yearling fawns. The doe stopped at the top of the ravine, turned back to look at her fawns, who were lagging behind, and appeared to demand that they pick up their pace. I was able to capture this image.
I like the photo because it accurately depicts the rough, hilly countryside that we were in. Take my word for it, running through that terrain is no easy task. It’s not only hilly but the ground is covered with rocks and nearly all of the vegetation is mercilessly thorny. The deer made running up the ravine’s slope look effortless.
Image made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom lens, aperture priority setting, ISO 500, f7.1 @ 1/800.