Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Jewel # 216 (May 22, 2015)


“They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make
(Malachi 3:17)

To my dear grandchildren,

Mule Deer: The Pride of the West

“Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing.  These are the beasts which ye shall eat: 
the ox, the sheep, and the goat, the hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer.”
(Deuteronomy 14:3-5)

Mule deer are found from northern Mexico north to the southern Yukon and Alaska, and from northern Texas and eastern North Dakota west to the Pacific Coast.  Tourists are often delighted to see them in the redwood groves of California, as well as Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons and Glacier park.

The mule deer is a majestic, beautiful deer with soft eyes, large furry ears, large branching antlers and a velvety coat.  Its coat, brown in summer and gray in winter, has a white fur patch at the back from which a short black-tipped white tail is used as a warning signal to companions when danger is near.  Pronged antlers are divided into two branches and are shed and renewed each year.  Hunters consider the antlers a trophy.

Weighing about 200 pounds, mule deer are larger and more heavily built than most deer and often reach 5 feet in length and stand 3 to 3.5 feet high at the shoulders.  As smart and wary as any animal, they have survived intense hunting over the years.  Protected in many areas, there are probably over a million throughout the West.  Rather than running as a horse does, they run in a series of stiff-legged leaps but can bound swiftly over the roughest trail.  They are good swimmers and do not hesitate to cross rivers and lakes when necessary.

They are called mule deer because of their large, open ears that stand upright behind the antlers, much like mule’s ears.  Back in 1804 when the Lewis and Clark expedition first saw them, they were reminded of mules back home.  They gave them this name which still identifies them.

Fawns (often twins) are usually born in spring and stay with the mother through summer.  They are pretty animals, covered with white spots on reddish-brown bodies until about five months old.    Mule deer like to stay in groups, and 300 to 400 may be seen at one time as they migrate to high altitudes in summer and back to the valleys in winter.  They must do this to fill their constant need of grass, shrubs and leaves.  Acorns and nuts are favourites when available.  They can eat cactus plants.  Like all living things, they are always under their Creator’s watchful care.

Our opening Bible verse is from the laws given to God’s Old Testament people and points out that fallow deer (related to mule deer) were among the clean animals they could eat.  Although we are not now under those laws, God does want us to avoid the unclean habits and things of the world and follow the clean, pure ways given in His Word, the Bible.  It is good for us to remember this in everything we do.

Love you all,

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