Tracks and Tales

Ungulates are all around us, whether it’s the deer in our gardens, the pronghorn along the highway, or the bighorn sheep high in the mountains. They make our lives special–and we want to share stories of how we connect with them. Our released stories are below.

A mule deer in her summer coat walks up a hill covered in red soil. There are a few juniper trees and patches of short shrubs, but otherwise the landscape is mostly soil. She is wearing a GPS collar, and appears to be glancing at the camera out of the side of her eye.

Are you ready to share your story?

We’re accepting stories from anyone and everyone who has a special connection with ungulates. We accept stories between 400-1000 words. When submitting, please indicate if you would like feedback–otherwise we’ll just do minor editing for grammar and clarity. Please submit to Rhiannon Jakopak at rjakopak [at] uwyo [dot] edu, with the subject line “Tracks and Tales submission.”

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. If you need some inspiration, consider these questions:

What is your first or most recent memory of an ungulate?
When did you first see a fawn, lamb, or calf?
Where do you often see tracks, scat, or sign?
Where is the most unusual place you’ve ever seen an ungulate?
Have you ever watched an ungulate do something just… weird?
Has an ungulate ever inspired you? Outsmarted you? Outran you? Scared you?
What is your first memory of hearing the word “ungulate”?

His end was white and cold and dark and all alone

I always think that it will be easy, and I am always wrong. I’ve learned the lesson a hundred times by now. If I knew that it would be hard every time, it would be difficult to get out the door, on the road for half the day, and out into the loneliest landscape I’ve …

Triplet fawns

It was my first summer working as a technician during fawning season on the Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project, and this hike was special. It was the middle of June, which meant that the last several weeks of my life had been spent thinking about mule deer almost exclusively.  On this day, my hiking partner …

Knowing Deer 226

Deer 226 was our last deer on the last day of a weekend trip out to the sagebrush spotted flats of the Red Desert. I had accompanied Luke, a PhD student studying mule deer migration, out to his study area to help with fawn recruitment surveys. For the uninitiated, fawn recruitment surveys focus on recording …

Data and Bones and Wonder

I don’t have a moment where I fell in love with deer. Looking back, I guess I must’ve fallen in love with deer in the same way that at some point I started writing and shooting bows with my right hand. Much in the same way, I know I love deer in the way that …

A Brief Encounter

From the Owens River Valley at 4,000 feet, the Sierra Nevada’s eastern slope explodes toward peaks reaching between 10,000 and 14,000 feet in just a few miles. While fairly regular in outline, the Sierra Nevada are not made up of smooth, straight edges nor are they a stagnant feature on the landscape. Since their formation …


Half-way up a snow-covered hill, I stop to watch a pair of mule deer, claiming curiosity as an excuse to catch my breath. A doe and her 9-month-old fawn weave through the juniper and shrubs, turning around to see if I’ve moved any closer. I wish I could tell them to save their precious energy; …