A medium sized deer, their coat is reddish in summer and gray-brown in winter, their large ears are dark and move independently. The black-tipped tail is conspicuous against their white rump. Male mule deer have antlers that are deciduous and dichotomously branched with a small spike near the base. Females have no antlers.
Black-tailed mule deer prefer open wooded mountain and foothill areas throughout the state and will eat 2 lbs a day of woody browse, leaves, forbs, and herbs including oak, filaree, brome grass, manzanita, ceanothus, and baccharis.
Does give birth once a year, usually 1 or 2 fawns. The doe will leave the herd and find a secluded spot just before she delivers her fawns where they will stay away from the herd while they learn each other’s smells and calls. The fawn will lay low while the doe browses for food. When she returns, the fawn will nurse, then lay down to sleep.