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Northwestern Exposure: Oh, deer. More frost.

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Mule deer profile

All ears: Ear size is a distinguishing characteristic between mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) – so much so that it helped mule deer get their name. I have read that the large ears enhances mule deer hearing, but have not found any scientific research to back that up. It would make sense, however, that an adaptation to hear over long distances would serve mule deer well considering they are known to inhabit the open plain while whitetails occupy forest.

Frosty pines

Frosty pine close-up

Chilled pine: It seems hoarfrost has been in ample supply this winter. It always looks good on ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa). These images were captured at Metcalf Wildlife Management Area north of Hay Springs.

Red-tailed hawks in frosty scene

Red-tails and white: A pair of red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) stand watch over the frosty scene. They are probably young ones if their non-red tail feathers serve as an indicator.

White-tailed deer in frost

White on white: Usually a white-tailed deer’s tail stands out as it flees a scene. In this case, it’s their bodies that are more conspicuous.

Bald eagle

Bald eagle in flight

‘Braska: No frost in these photos, but would you agree that a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) flying with the Pine Ridge as its backdrop looks good, anyway?

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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