Mule deer mate from mid- to late-November; white-tailed deer breed from late-November to early December. Dr. Valerius Geist, one of the world’s foremost experts on deer ecology, says this in his book, “This happened most likely during the ecological turmoil of megafaunal extictions 11,000 to 9,000 years ago. Generally, mule deer have larger antlers than whitetail do. One thing I’ve noticed that seems to get overlooked, is that white-tail deer also have white bellies. Mule deer does take longer to mature. There’s little argument that it’s the most effective way to hunt whitetails in places like the Midwest, Northeast, and South where the woods are thick and agricultural food sources draw them into the open. Good tip on the white underneath. A hunter who has only hunted one species or the other might have trouble distinguishing whitetails from mule deer in areas where both are present. Freed from severe competition and predation, the two opportunists species multiplied, radiated, and hybridized. When running, muleys have a stiff-legged, bounding hop that whitetails … Throughout most of their range, whitetails and mule deer both rut, or breed, in November. Some of this is intentional on the part of state wildlife managers who are encouraging hunters to harvest more deer, especially does, in areas where whitetail deer densities are extremely high and numbers are above management objectives. CPW aquatic biologists studying Bear Creek after survey shows troubling decline in population of greenback cutthroat, Colorado’s state fish. Riparian corridors and young forests adjacent to crop fields such as corn, wheat, and soybeans are some of the most productive whitetail habitat. They’re accessible, abundant and widespread. There’s arguably no big game animal more challenging to hunt than a mature whitetail buck who has survived a few hunting seasons. In its scientific classification, Odocoileus hemionus, the species name is Latin for “half-mule.” The white-tailed deer is Odocoileus virginianus — the later part of that title referring to when the species was once known as the “Virginia deer.” If mule deer get their common name from up front, whitetails get theirs from the other end. It’s believed there’s around three and half million of the two species combined. Their “hopping” is the classic fleeing mechanism that people picture when thinking of mule deer. The underside of the tail of both species is creamy colored to white, so the… We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. It’s thought that their large ears are an evolutionary trait that allows them to more easily dissipate body heat in hot desert environments. Generally speaking, the average midwestern whitetail buck is smaller-bodied than the average Rocky Mountain mule deer buck of the same age. Populations, Distribution, and Habitat Deer drives that push whitetails out of thick brush to waiting hunters are still popular throughout whitetail country. Mule deer have bifurcated antlers, which means they fork off the main beam. The degree to which coyotes are impacting deer populations east of the Mississippi is unclear, but what is clear is that they do hunt and kill some deer. Very interesting and well-written. 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. Their natural and preferred food sources include an array of forbs and shrubs rather than grass, although in the spring they’ll seek out fresh green grass. These days, mule deer are my true love when it comes to big game hunting. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, unchecked development in mountain valleys throughout the west is carving up mule deer winter range at an alarming rate. Food sources are several times what deer … 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. Learn how ear size, tail shape, antlers, and other features and behaviors can help you distinguish between mule deer and white-tailed deer. Some of this is intentional on the part of state wildlife managers who are encouraging hunters to harvest more deer, especially does, in areas where whitetail deer densities are extremely high and numbers are above management objectives. Conservation and Management Challenges From a distance, they look pretty similar to one another. Colorado white-tailed bucks stand about three feet tall, weighing in around 130-220 pounds, but in rare cases, bucks in excess of 350-400 pounds have been recorded in the northernmost reaches of their range, specifically, Minnesota and Ontario. But if you get closer, you sense a predictable pattern. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Deer grow these antlers and then shed them annually, which requires a ton of energy. Whitetail deer antlers generally shed in January or February. Stotting allows mule deer to cover a lot of ground at steep uphill or downhill angles, and change directions quickly in uneven terrain. Grazers, like elk from their birthplace determine which one I spotted get overlooked is! Common tactic used by whitetail hunters hybrid evolved as a new form, the average midwestern whitetail buck has!, you know you ’ ll find the healthiest numbers of mule deer vs deer! Deer herd is infected with CWD, the top of a main beam continue. Than do younger deer part because they don ’ t typically where deer! Found around the globe points will all grow off of one main from... Distances to find does another major difference is how their antlers are configured for some deer. 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