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Lewis and Clark in North Dakota:
Wildlife Then & Now

Mammals


Black Tail Deer (Mule Deer) Past Mule Deer Distribution Map of North Dakota Present Mule Deer Distribution Map of North Dakota
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Black Tail Deer (Mule Deer)

The mule deer was first named and described by Lewis and Clark. Presettlement distributions of mule deer in North Dakota were probably similar to what is found today. The primary range of this animal has always been the Little Missouri badlands but they were found in lower numbers on the prairie as far east as the Missouri River, with a few small isolated herds located north and east of the Missouri River.

As with all big game species, mule deer were nearly extirpated from the state. By 1900 only a handful were left in remote corners of the badlands. Mule deer can now be found throughout the badlands, along the breaks of the Missouri River, and in small scattered populations south and west of the Missouri River. Some habitat has been converted and lost for this species, but all things considered, we are probably close to presettlement numbers of mule deer in the state.


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