Comprising one of the highest numbers of megafauna (large wildlife) species in the Eastern Sierra, Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus) can be found in numerous herds throughout Inyo and Mono Counties. Look for their white rumps, black-tipped tails, and distinctive large ears as characteristics common to this beautiful animal. Mule Deer are native to the region; about eight herds totaling several thousand mule deer occupy various broad ranges or habitats throughout the Sierra’s east side. They are a mobile species moving from alpine mountain habitat in summers to warmer winter locations in the Owens Valley, Round Valley, Benton Valley, and Bridgeport Valley area.
During summer, you can find them in mountainous areas such as meadows, forests, etc. during morning or evening hours while they are browsing. Many times you can find them near developed Forest Service campgrounds and quite frequently they roam down into communities such as Mammoth Lakes, Lee Vining, June Lake, etc. where undeveloped wildland habitat borders these towns. In fall, winter, and spring, deer from the Round Valley Herd can be easily observed in various locations throughout Round Valley, particularly in locales such as Horton Creek where they browse on succulent Bitterbrush–an important dietary nutrient they need to survive the area’s winters.
The Eastern Sierra Land Trust is a conservation organization that works to preserve open space and wildlife in the region.
For additional information on the Round Valley Deer Herd and the ESLT, click here. Or to read more about other wildlife viewings here in the Eastern Sierra, click here.
For additional directions or information, contact the visitor center.