The mule deer is named for its ears, which are large like those of a mule. Males have antlers on the top of their heads that branch dichotomously and are typically shed in January and regrow over the summer. Coastal versions of this deer are typically a dark brown, tan, or gray and have a small white rump patch. Males (called bucks) typically weigh between 121 to 331 lbs., while females (called does) typically weigh between 95 to 198 lbs.
These deer are crepuscular and nocturnal to avoid being preyed on by coyotes, gray wolves, mountain lions, bobcats, wolverines, and brown bears. These deer are herbivores consuming a wide variety of plants including berries, acorns, apples, and grasses. If alarmed by a predator, these animals will stot by bounding away with all four feet hitting the ground together at the same time.