Typical White-tailed Deer Antlers. Like a lot of big game animals, mule deer and whitetails are crepuscular, meaning they most actively feed and travel near dawn and dusk. The peak of the whitetail rut tends to fall during the first week or two of November. Thank you. Hybridization between the two species can occur, but is rare and the offspring usually don’t survive to adulthood. They tend not to spook as easy as whitetails. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. In the U.S. alone, there’s about 30 million whitetails, with Texas topping the list at 3.6 million. In fact, it was recently discovered mule deer migrate farther than any other land animal in the lower 48. Mule deer evolved in much more open country than whitetails, and natural selection dictated that mule deer bucks with large antlers could attract more females from further away. Both mule deer and whitetail does deliver one to four fawns (normally two) in late May or early June. Physical Characteristics Later, when I moved west to Colorado, I became a die-hard lover of mule deer and the rugged, mountainous country where they live. Hunting CWD is fatal to every deer that contracts it, and unlike diseases like Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD), the effects aren’t temporary. In the Rockies, it’s a different story for mule deer. We have more whitetails now, by far, than at the time of European contact. Mule deer offer their own set of challenges though, and they can be every bit as hard to hunt as the spookiest whitetail. Coues whitetail x desert mule deer hybrid (F1) produced in captivity by Gerald Day in the early 1970s. Whitetail densities are very high in productive areas so there’s lots of does to choose from. Thus, deer poorly distinguish the oranges and reds, which makes it very convenient for hunters to wear orange caps and clothing during hunting seasons. Alaska is one of the true wilderness states and home to a variety of wildlife. The antlers of mule deer are bifurcated rather than branching from a single … Mule deer antlers have more of a fork look to them. That’s not to say you can’t find whitetails high up in remote mountains or mule deer raiding a suburban cornfield, but mule deer are typically a creature of higher elevations. Like many hunters, my early big game experience revolved around the whitetail deer that live on small farms and woodlots throughout the eastern United States. The long-term impacts of CWD are still being assessed, but the disease is already impacting whitetail conservation and management strategies all over the country. The condition of a fawn’s mother and its date of birth also play a large part in how a deer’s antlers appear. Save my name, email, and site URL in my browser for next time I post a comment. They are also bifurcated, forking in two directions as they grow, splitting again to create more tines (points), and so forth. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. Their large rump, though, is much lighter in color than the rest of their body. While whitetail bucks are constantly on the move at this time, they don’t cover nearly as much ground as mule deer bucks during the rut. During hunting seasons, whitetails prefer thick, brushy bedding areas, while mule deer often choose shady spots near the tops of ridges where they can survey a large area for danger. Both white-tailed and mule male deer, called "bucks", have antlers. White-tailed deer antlers usually have more prominent brow tines and lack the bifurcated branching present in mule deer. While whitetail bucks are constantly on the move at this time, they don’t cover nearly as much ground as mule deer bucks during the rut. However, whitetails get more grayish in the winter, which makes using color to differentiate species unreliable during hunting seasons when it matters most. Mule deer behave much differently than whitetails. To make it an effective defense mechanism, the difference between “calm” and “freaked out” has to be as big as possible. But if you get closer, you sense a predictable pattern. Each spring, a buck's antlers start to regrow almost immediately after the old antlers are shed. Mule deer evolved in much more open country than whitetails, and natural selection dictated that mule deer bucks with large antlers could attract more females from further away. Both species will eat hundreds of different types of plants. As far as smell goes, both species of deer rely on their exceptional sense of smell to avoid being eaten or shot at. Whitetails live in thicker, flatter country so fleeing a short ways into the brush is fast and easy. Riparian corridors and young forests adjacent to crop fields such as corn, wheat, and soybeans are some of the most productive whitetail habitat. Video taken on November 19, 2010. These meetings are designed to be a chance for Colorado hunters and anglers to interact directly with Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff. Mule deer have bifurcated antlers meaning as they grow they fork, each fork grows and each fork splits again to create more tines. You have some good pictures also. Throughout most of their range, whitetails and mule deer both rut, or breed, in November. Unlike whitetails that have thrived because of increased human alteration of the landscape, mule deer do best where humans have had the least amount of impact on their habitat. Very interesting and well-written. Where mountains, foothills, plains, and deserts remain largely untouched, you’ll find the healthiest numbers of mule deer. While producing a genuine antler chandelier can be a very time-consuming process, the reward is one unique piece that you can hang up your ceiling with pride. The most logical reason is because the abundance of mule deer, which traditionally has been counted using one side only, minus the brow tine or eye guard. Female whitetail deer can breed as young as six months old. The 2020 Colorado Outdoors Photography Issue is available now. Gait. SMALLER SET IS 226-6" BC GROSS AND BIGGER SET IS 249-5" BC GROSS~ BOTH WITH 18-0" ESTIMATED INSIDE SPREADS~ SMALLER SET H1'S ARE 5-5" AND 5-3"~ LONGEST TINE IS 11-3"~ MAIN BEAMS ARE 21-5" AND 22-0"~ SET WEIGHS 6.5 LBS~ COUPLE OF TINY TINY SURFACE CHEWS ON RIGHT ANTLER… This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. This phenomena is known as. Physically, however, there’s some pretty distinguishing features that separate whitetails from mule deer. During early weeks of life, the fawn sees its mother only at mealtimes for feeding. with smaller numbers extending into the central plains. In critical migration corridors, barriers created by energy extraction are obstructing historical mule deer travel routes. It’s likely that several factors, many of which mule deer could withstand on an individual basis, are adding up to a much larger problem. The typical mature whitetail buck in Illinois will weigh in at around 200 pounds, while mature Colorado mule deer bucks commonly weigh over 250 pounds. California and Nevada are the exceptions for the time being, but whitetails are constantly expanding their range into new areas. Mule deer range is more limited than whitetails, but they’re found from the deserts of Mexico in the south, all the way north into the remote mountains of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory. CWD is fatal to every deer that contracts it, and unlike diseases like Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). Whitetails in northern latitudes grow much larger than their southern cousins. However, with proper nutrition, older bucks generally have larger antlers with more points than do younger deer. The hybrid evolved as a new form, the mule deer, by adapting to climatically more extreme, open landscapes…”. Elsewhere, where wolves aren’t present, coyotes have moved in to places where they never existed before, filling a predatory void. In some areas, mountain lions and black bears are having a significant impact on fawn survival. As the ice age ended and the glaciers receded northwards, mule deer took advantage of new available habitat, habitat for which they were specially adapted. Because whitetails are so keyed in to human hunting activities, most whitetail hunters employ ambush and stand hunting tactics to kill them. There’s even recent examples of mule deer showing up in Alaska. Cant wait to use my new Vortex. Meanwhile, whitetail antlers only branch out … In the upper midwest, wolf populations are growing enough that it is believed they are having a significant impact on certain deer herds. The reasons why whitetail deer are different from other species might be: Presence of antlers on males(few exceptions in … Big antlers and long-range attraction was unnecessary. There’s a lot of theories behind why whitetails evolved this “flagging” display system. To put it simply, whitetails are just about everywhere and there’s a lot of them. So the blacktail and mule deer are the same species, but the mulie is a subspecies of the blacktail, and they are both close cousins to the whitetail. The heftiest, trophy-sized mule deer buck can weigh more than 450 pounds. Pinyon pine and juniper encroachment is also degrading prime sagebrush mule deer habitat across the West, which is then compounded by competition for shrinking resources with elk and whitetails. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Tiny subspecies like the Keys deer or Coues deer aside, whitetails vary widely in average body size across their range, from small-bodied south Texas deer to giant three-hundred pound Saskatchewan bucks. This book is a fascinating, in-depth read for anyone interested in deer found around the globe. Behavior Mature deer all have antlers, and from a distance, you cannot tell if it is a whitetail or mule deer. Whitetails were my first childhood hunting crush and hunting them brings back fond memories. Although it was warm for December, I couldn’t help but shiver as the whitetail’s rack grew... With whitetail seasons wrapping up across much of the country, one of the  questions I get most... Our picks for the week’s best hunting, fishing, wild foods, and conservation content. It’s thought that their large ears are an evolutionary trait that allows them to more easily dissipate body heat in hot desert environments. Mule deer and whitetail both have highly advanced sensory capabilities when it comes to predator and hunter avoidance. While there is a lot of color variation between individual deer, the mule deer face is mostly white from the nose to the eyes, whereas the whitetail’s face is mostly brown with white rings around its eyes and nose. It’s likely that several factors, many of which mule deer could withstand on an individual basis, are adding up to a much larger problem. Deer drives that push whitetails out of thick brush to waiting hunters are still popular throughout whitetail country. The, Perhaps the biggest conservation concern for most whitetail hunters is. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are as essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Stotting allows mule deer to cover a lot of ground at steep uphill or downhill angles, and change directions quickly in uneven terrain. Whitetails in northern latitudes grow much larger than their southern cousins. Whitetail deer were a creature of warmer climates. Mule deer also have forked antlers, which we call “bifurcated antlers”. There’s arguably no big game animal more challenging to hunt than a mature whitetail buck who has survived a few hunting seasons. Whether the tail is up or down, you can always see plenty of white on the rump of a mule deer. For the most part, however, there’s some major differences in their populations, distribution, and habitat preferences. Their antlers are almost always symmetrical. The two most popular big game animals in North America are arguably the white-tailed deer and the mule deer. Across their entire range, the white-tailed deer is highly variable in size, generally following Bergmann’s rule that the average size is larger further away from the Equator. Antlers Mule Deer vs White-tailed Deer – Buck Antler View. This makes sense when you consider mule deer live in steep, open country. However, there are two major differences between the mule deer vs whitetail. Colorado has the largest population of mule deer with over 400,000. Whitetail deer, elk, and mule deer have a range that extends north, but not nearly so far north as caribou, which can be found deep into the Arctic Circle. Whitetail deer mate … • Females of many deer species do not have antlers, but most of the caribous have antlers in both sexes. This mule deer got his butt kicked by this whitetail in northern Utah. These days, I manage to hunt both species just about every year, often in places where both whitetails and mule deer co-exist. One of the most iconic images in hunting is a whitetail buck bounding away from a hunter with his bright white tail held high. I’ve had deer in my yard that have distinctive black and white colouring on the BACK of their ears… are they Mule deer. Travis Smola These are the major differences between mule deer and whitetails. It’s unclear how or if it’s used for display purposes, but it sure makes them easier to spot on a distant hillside. Also, mule deer tend to be much more laid back and less jittery. In western states where both deer species live, spot and stalk is also a common tactic used by whitetail hunters. degree to which coyotes are impacting deer populations east of the Mississippi is unclear. However, abnormal points arising from the second tine, similar to the bifurcated branching of mule deer, are relatively common in mature whitetails, perhaps indicative of the close taxonomic … , which doesn’t seem to have nearly as much influence on mule deer body size. Mule deer are slightly more accepting to hunters and pressure. Whitetail populations are generally doing well throughout the country, but there’s evidence that populations aren’t as high as they were a couple decades ago. Muley ears are larger and tend to be set at about a 30-degree angle on the head, versus those of whitetails, which are rounded and stand more erect. Backyard Science: What Is So Cool About Snow. Mule deer often summer in high elevation alpine habitat above the treeline where the richest food sources are found, but because snow levels are unmanageable during winter, mule deer migrate downhill to river valleys and low elevation sagebrush habitat where food is accessible. Many centuries separate whitetails from mule deer ’ s believed there ’ s most popular method of mule deer s. Are obstructing historical mule deer populations east of the whitetail obsessed stunning Photography, featuring some these... Species have good eyesight when it comes to big game animal more challenging to hunt the! Is unique to mule deer have dichromatic ( two-color ) vision with blue and yellow primaries medium to sized. 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