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About two and a half miles apart is a good water source distribution for mule deer, while white-tailed deer can gain the most benefits from one permanent water source per square mile. Whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) live in nearly all of the contiguous 48 states except California and Nevada. Food sources are several times what deer need during the Spring and Summer months, and adequate fawning cover is in high supply. Mule deer bucks at the heaviest range can weigh as much as 450 pounds or more. Whitetail deer have a higher birth rate than mule deer. Also, mule deer tend to be much more laid back and less jittery. For one, the mule deer’s tail has a black-tip, while the whitetail does not. For one, the mule deer’s tail has a black-tip, while the whitetail does not. Mule deer, on the other hand, have a rap for being much more laid back and accepting of hunting pressure. 2. Black-tailed deer are also found in the West, but they are actually a subspecies of mule deer. Male Mule Deer Female Mule Deer Antlers vs. Despite all the differences across the country, there are actually only 2 species of deer in the U.S.: white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus). Their ears. Coues’ white-tailed deer often throw up their tails and display a snowy, white underside. Mule deer are larger than whitetail deer, usually weighing between 100 and 220 pounds. Whitetail Deer Whitetail Habitat Management on a Budget with Small Property Focal Points. The white-tailed deer is the most prevalent species present in North Carolina and the National Park Service has released elk in the mountains. Mule Deer vs White-tailed Deer – Doe Broadside View. Whitetail deer were expanding out what is now the southeast United States. White-tailed deer have a conspicuous “white flag” tail which is displayed when running from danger (Banfield 1974). You can see how this would also help whitetail out-breed mule deer. We use this information to hunt each species in a specialized way, which leads to more successful hunts. They are constantly looking and smelling for danger. Horns White-tailed deer will out compete mule deer for available resources (food, shelter) in most habitat types. The muley is frequently found in consort. They are uncommon in Alaska. Its ears sit at approximately a 30-degree angle on the animal’s head. Although if you are looking at mule deer doe, their faces look different than the bucks. The mule deer’s scientific name Odocoileurs hamionus (which in Latin means half-mule). Texas is a whitetail state, but the deserts and mountains of Far West Texas are mule deer habitat. Video taken on November 19, 2010. In some areas, male mule deer are bigger than whitetail deer. In some areas, including northern regions, bucks can be as heavy as 450 pounds. Aside from that outfitters look close to the same. Mule deer tend to have a surprisingly relaxed attitude and are generally less wary of hunters and humans. Mule deer are a large species of deer that live in North America. Quite often the whitetail will run off a bit and then turn around to study the situation, much as does a mule deer. In the Southwest there were complaints 20 years ago that mule deer were taking over whitetail habitat. Whitetails gallop rather than hop. Texas is a whitetail state, but the deserts and mountains of Far West Texas are mule deer habitat. I am a college student and avid outdoorsmen in the great state of Georgia. There is an obvious physical distinction between mule deer vs. whitetail deer, but how do you properly scout and hunt each species? They tend not to spook as easy as whitetails. Maximum antler size occurs between 5–7 years of age. White-tailed deer have a dark colored rump, until they raise their tail up in alarm. are different. It is generally accepted that mule deer are a result of thousands of years of hybridization between the whitetail deer, and the coastal blacktail deer. Male is polygamous; rut runs Oct.–Dec. It has a larger area of white above their tail. Coues’ white-tailed deer often throw up their tails and display a snowy, white underside. They occupy the same habitats, have similar food preferences (they are almost identical), and habitat preferences are similar. The whitetail is usually protected and often hidden by trees or brush. White-tailed Deer Wildlife Profiles—North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Q&A 1. Reddish-brown to blue-gray or tan coloring; underside of tail is white, producing a “flag” when raised off the rump. Ears are larger than the white-tailed deer's. Among the species of deer native to North America we can find the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and the mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus).While the white-tailed deer lives throughout the United States, the mule deer inhabits only part of it. This small fact alone keeps this hybrid from becoming its own species. Both continue to grow and fork again from there. It has a narrow patch of bright white beneath this. I got this evolutionary information from a really awesome article by Meat Eater that you can check out here. Mule deer buck racks are bifurcated. Describe an ideal habitat for Mule Deer. Their “hopping” is the classic fleeing mechanism that people picture when thinking of mule deer. This may be the result of introgression , although hybrids between the mule deer and white-tailed deer are rare in the wild (apparently more common locally in West Texas ), and the hybrid survival rate is low even in captivity. Lives up to 16 years. They have the instincts to dart away and also hop, but they wind up jumping around in confusion and not really going anywhere. Both shed their antlers annually. However, between 1935 and 1955 there were more mule deerin the West than at any time since. Its cousin, the mule deer, resembles the whitetail, and in some regions the two species share the same habitat. Mule Deer mating season takes place between about middle to late November of each year. Mule deer get their name from their ears. It lives with the jackrabbit in places. Mule deer tend to have more grayish-brown fur, where whitetail fur is usually more reddish-brown. Well it looks like MT is having a hard time with their mule deer numbers and seeing the whitetail populations explode. Fawns are generally reddish in color with white spots – something which is true for both species. It is just a two-week difference but this actually leads to higher birth rates for the overall population of whitetails. This is why Florida whitetail deer are much smaller than the Canadian giants. This is different than the running movement of whitetail deer, which we will discuss later. While whitetail deer are more skittish than mule deer when humans are around, they can be surprisingly aggressive. Their faces look much like whitetail faces, with near-identical markings. White-tailed deer are an entirely different species but overlap in range with the mule deer in some places. However, their range overlaps in some areas, and you may be left wondering whether you just saw a white-tailed deer or a mule deer. They range from the Pacific Coast to the Dakotas and some maps show they range into Minnesota and Iowa. When these hybrids do make it to adulthood, they tend to have the tail of a whitetail but with a black or dark brown top, but can also have a regular mule deer tail. This is why the animals have a difficult time perceiving reds and oranges. The mule deer generally has fur that is grayish-brown in tone. Whitetail Deer vs Mule Deer. Environmental factors, as well as nutrition, and age, are key in determining how large a deer will get. Today, the lower density desert mule deer herds are allowing the Coues’ whitetail to use valley and desert grassland habitat formerly considered mule deer country. 3. We’ll consider the differences in size, coloring, mating habits, antlers, habitat, and behavior. The mule deer simply adds more distance in the belief that its fleetness of foot will give it … They have a single main beam that all other points grow from. Sometimes male whitetail deer can weigh over 400 pounds. They will later split once more to make a greater number of tines (tines are points on the antlers). The distance between those mountain tops and valleys can easily be over a hundred miles. Both whitetail and mule deer females can birth between one and four fawns every season. This does not mean that you cannot spook them, it just means it is a little harder to. In the north 1/2 of the country, every form of deer habitat, including nearly every native grass planting, is at it's best. Another indication is their coat. Ancestors of the blacktail deer migrated from modern-day Alaska down along the west coast of the modern-day United States. This is when you spot a mule deer from one place (probably far away) and sneak around to somewhere that presents a shot on said mule deer. Omega Outdoors also participates in affiliate programs with other sites. White-tailed deer have a dark colored rump, until they raise their tail up in alarm. This should provide a complete whitetail deer vs mule deer comparison. So they do not have to move very much to find food no matter what time of year it is. While they look like their relative, the whitetail deer, this species lives mostly in the western United States. As they grow, they fork off in two different directions. Ironically, the mule deer has more white on its back end than the whitetail deer does. The underside of their big tail is white. Whitetails don't do that. Mule deer only reside in the western half of the United States and Canada. Water is a critical component of both white-tailed and mule deer habitats. Your leading source for becoming a better hunter, link to How to Use a Whitetail Deer Decoy During the Rut. How many species of deer are there in North America? In the north 1/2 of the country, every form of deer habitat, including nearly every native grass planting, is at it's best. Aside from that outfitters look close to the same. For around 4 million years they have existed nearly unchanged. Due to hunting regulations, Sitka black-tailed deer should not be confused with mule deer and can be identified most readily by their small stature and black tail. If you’re a hunter or nature enthusiast in areas where there are deer, you are probably keen to find out the differences between mule deer and whitetail deer. The mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, caribou and moose. I hope you enjoyed it and learned something you didn’t already know. A mule deer’s diet is usually composed of weeds, leaves, and twigs. These deer would generally be considered trophy-size. However, the species are different … I think it mostly has to do with the habitat that they live in. Mule deer, on the other hand, have only existed for around 10,000 years. Though they share a lot of similarities, you can notice plenty of minute differences in their appearance, their behavior, and the geographic locations they occupy. If you have any other questions about the differences in mule deer and whitetail deer or just want to connect, feel free to email me at Patrick.Long@omegaoutdoors.net. The tops of their bushy tails are also brown until they raise them up. Easier said than done. If I'm not outdoors, I am probably studying for my next big test, hanging out with my friends and family, or I am making content for the community around this blog. They were abundant in the late 1800s but scarce during the initial decades of the 20th century. However, there are two major differences between the mule deer vs whitetail. It’s crucial that hunters understand this difference, so they can hunt the specific animal they want and keep in line with any laws and regulations in their area. 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. They are similar in size but ears, face, antler configuration, running (gait) etc. Video taken on November 19, 2010. We also try to answer common questions about deer. © Copyright 2020 WorldDeer.org. Of course, these deer have preferences due to their locations, so whitetail may prefer acorns while mule deer may prefer sage bush.eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'omegaoutdoors_blog-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_9',114,'0','0']));eval(ez_write_tag([[250,250],'omegaoutdoors_blog-large-mobile-banner-2','ezslot_10',114,'0','1'])); The two species have slightly different reproductive processes. Research done on captive hybrids shows that sotting is so specialized that hybrids are unable to do it. Management Plan. This is the most popular tactic in places like the Midwest, Northeast, and South because of the thick cover. Water use varies by season and habitat conditions. So here I will dive into everything different between these two species so that you can quickly identify them and become a better hunter. But when they do come in contact, their differences in breeding behavior further reduce the chance that they will interbreed. 2. An older buck that has good nutrition will have larger antlers than younger ones. “Hollowed toothed” refers to the structure of the mule deer’s molars, while “half-ass” references its large ears, which are reminiscent of a mule or donkey.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'omegaoutdoors_blog-box-4','ezslot_2',110,'0','0'])); Another key aspect of each species are their antlers. Their antlers tend to look more like whitetail antlers. These big ears will let them hear much farther away, and keep them safe in the rocky mountains. However, there are two major differences between the mule deer vs whitetail. White-tailed deer will out compete mule deer for available resources (food, shelter) in most habitat types. Black-tailed deer are also found in the West, but they are actually a subspecies of mule deer. A trait that is sure not to lead to survival or offspring if they could have them. List three advantages of the anatomy and/or physiology of Mule Deer vs. White-Tailed Deer. Another distinguishing factor is their antlers. Planning a deer/antelope hunt for my wife and myself and it looks like it's going to come down to a decision of whitetail vs mule deer. Subsequently, mule deer numbers have historically fluctuated, primarily in response to climatic and habitat condit… Mule deer and whitetail do not share the same core ranges, though they do overlap. The second reproductive difference between these species is their gestation period. A mule deer can stand as high as between three and three and a half feet tall when measured from its shoulder. We have already talked about how whitetail and mule deer have very different attitudes. You can differentiate them from their whitetail cousin by looking at their ears. Of course, hunting pressure is zero. Whereas white-tailed deer cover nearly the entire North American Continent, and parts of South America as well. Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer are closely related cousins sharing the same generic name. They were abundant in the late 1800s but scarce during the initial decades of the 20th century. Mule deer are identifiable in the way they move, too. Mule deer buck racks are bifurcated. Compared to mule deer, white-tailed deer have smaller ears, a redder summer coat, and single branched rather than multi-branched antlers (Stelfox 1993, Gadd 1995). Mule deer also have a dark forehead. Whitetail deer are just about the oldest deer that there are. However, whitetails get more grayish in the winter, which makes using color to differentiate species unreliable during hunting seasons when it matters most. –Deer harvest recommendation / tag issuance –General correspondence about wildlife and habitat management •Does NOT require –A wildlife management plan, deer population data, or habitat practices be conducted –Or to work with a TPWD biologist •Applicable to white-tailed deer only •September 1 enrollment deadline The face of the mule deer is predominantly white between the nose and the eyes. Even though whitetail deer are smaller than mule deer, there’s an overwhelmingly large chance that the whitetail will win if the two get into a fight. Water is a critical component of both white-tailed and mule deer habitats. Another distinguishing factor is their antlers. Its hindquarters have a larger area of white, which their rope-like tail sits atop. A mule deer’s diet is usually composed of weeds, leaves, and twigs. 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