When it comes to wildlife there are few genuine surprises, so when a mule deer showed up where it usually isn’t seen it caused quite a stir.
Michael Houx spotted what he thought was a caribou while driving near Eielson Air Force Base in mid-September. But then the lifelong Alaskan native took a long, hard look at what turned out to be a mule deer.
As reported by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Houx thought the mule deer wasn’t real.
Houx grew up in North Pole and knows the Interior’s large animals well. As he got closer to this young buck, he knew it was something unusual.
“I know caribou and moose, all of that kind of stuff,” he said. “I pulled over and said ‘Is that a decoy?’ Holy cow, what is that? I don’t even know my deer; I can’t tell what it is.”
Area wildlife biologist Don Young, with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, doesn’t think Houx’s photo is a hoax. Several reports of a young male mule deer have come in recently from the Eielson area, he said.
“I think it’s a valid report, we’ve got pictures, multiple reports from independent sources,” Young said.
That’s pretty cool. Mule deer aren’t uncommon in Alaska but aren’t seen regularly. There is no hunting season for them there, either.
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