Great Basin Naturalist


Rocky Mountain mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus hemionus) beds were studied in selected plant communities with the purpose of characterizing bedding sites. Six trends exist among the data: (1) deer appeared to prefer bedding under or near conifers, (2) most beds were found on or near game trails, (3) beds in xeric communities were located at higher altitudes and had less overhead cover than in mesic communities, (4) the percentage of uphill cover in xeric areas was greater than in mesic areas, (5) visibility was lower on the north and west sides of deer beds in both community types than on the south and east sides, and (6) the mean size of deer beds was the same in both xeric and mesic communities. These trends, as well as other tendencies in bed locations, are considered from the standpoint of deer thermoregulation and predator avoidance.