Deer (Mule and Whitetail)
Several members of the deer family make their homes in the boreal forest, including larger species like moose and caribou, and smaller varieties, like the while-tailed and mule deer. White-tailed deer are perhaps the most handsome of all the deer species, with large but graceful bodies suited for moving with great swiftness through the woodlands. The fur ranges from reddish brown in the summer to a more grey brown in the winter, while the undersides of the tail and belly, the chin, the muzzle, and a ring around the eye are white. The white-tailed deer tends to favour open areas close to woodlands as these provide a suitable place of retreat in case predators are about.
Mule deer are very similar to the white-tailed deer, though they are less secretive than their white-tailed cousin, and tend to be more conspicuous as a species. Mule deer habitat is similar to that of the white-tailed deer, including open meadowlands mixed with forest, though mule deer tend to range at higher elevations and in areas slightly further north than the white-tailed variety. Their coat ranges from a summer tan to a dark grey winter hue.
Both mule and white-tailed deer are quite successful species in the northern woodlands; this has come about in part because they have adapted well to disturbed areas of the forest, feasting on vegetation that grows in areas cleared by fires or logging, or wandering into agricultural lands for food.
Deer were valued by Aboriginal hunters and trappers because, like moose and caribou, deer were an excellent source of meat for eating, hide for use in clothing and shelter materials, sinew for the making of string, and bone and antlers for tools or as a media for carving artwork. Fawns of both mule and white-tailed deer have spotted hides that are highly valued for the making of packsacks.