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The black-tailed deer is one of nine subspecies of the mule deer. It was first recorded by the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-06.
Black-tailed deer live in the temperate coniferous forests along the Pacific coast. These forests are characterized by cool temperatures and lots of rain, but an overall mild climate. Black-tailed deer do not therefore migrate in response to seasonal changes, unlike some of the other mule deer subspecies. Instead, black-tailed deer often spend their entire life in the same general area.
Black-tailed deer can be distinguished from mule deer by their larger tail, the back of which is completely covered with black or dark brown hairs. Mule deer have smaller tails in which only the tip is covered with black hairs. Black-tailed deer are generally smaller than mule deer.
Central California to British Columbia
Mixed habitat with forest cover
Mostly common and widespread in suitable habitats
New plant growth in spring, woody browse at other times; acorns favored when available
Further information about mule deer may be found on the Animal Diversity Web page for mule deer.