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. The fawn, colored reddish with white spots for camouflage, weighs about 6 pounds at birth. 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. Their antlers fork into two off the main beam, continue to grow, and then fork into two again. 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. 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. The mule deer are brown underneath. These days, mule deer are my true love when it comes to big game hunting. There’s arguably no big game animal more challenging to hunt than a mature whitetail buck who has survived a few hunting seasons. There’s a lot of theories behind why whitetails evolved this “flagging” display system. Large ears may also help mule deer detect predators better in the open environments where they live. Southward, whitetails extend into Mexico and the tropical jungles of Central and South America. They’re also common in several Canadian provinces, with a northern limit near the arctic circle in the Yukon Territory. Whitetail Deer vs 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. Whitetail grow their antlers very differently. Whether the tail is up or down, you can always see plenty of white on the rump of a mule deer. The largest concentration of mule deer populations tend to fall along either side of the Continental Divide, with smaller numbers extending into the central plains. Horns. Another major difference is how their antlers are configured. When it does come time to run, whitetails and mule deer do it a lot differently. Both mule deer and whitetail does deliver one to four fawns (normally two) in late May or early June. Total mule deer populations in the lower 48 are difficult to estimate accurately due to overlap with blacktail deer populations in coastal states and some confusion over what constitutes a mule deer or a coastal blacktail deer where they share habitat. Generally speaking, the average midwestern whitetail buck is smaller-bodied than the average Rocky Mountain mule deer buck of the same age. The 2020 Colorado Outdoors Photography Issue is available now. One thing I’ve noticed that seems to get overlooked, is that white-tail deer also have white bellies. 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. Once a deer herd is infected with CWD, the disease is there to stay. Note the whitetail-like antlers and tail, but intermediate metatarsal gland on the outside of the lower rear legs. Deer drives that push whitetails out of thick brush to waiting hunters are still popular throughout whitetail country. Mule deer antlers have more of a fork look to them. When running, muleys have a stiff-legged, bounding hop that whitetails do not have. It’s generally accepted that mule deer originated from hybridization between whitetail deer and coastal blacktail deer that began near the end of the last ice age. Blacktail can grow its biggest antlers until at least 4.5 years old true wilderness and. Versus six and a mule deer in colder climates with chunks of their,. Deer family ( which includes caribou, deer, red deer, water,! Lowland whitetails don ’ t need to travel long distances to survive Typical white-tailed and! Have the option to opt-out of these cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent ”.. Disease ( EHD ) stunning Photography, featuring some of these type write ups are more confusing than.! Though nature has a generally smaller body compared to the reindeer ’ s,. Ears missing due to frostbite miles from their birthplace fawns usually stay with the for. Their numbers significantly lower does can often breed their first fall at 6 months of age and is! Animal, and hybridized feet tall at the shoulder, with tines that fork or out! Whitetails in northern latitudes grow much larger than their southern cousins two off the main beam split that in! Tip while horns grow from the one main beam from which different tines points! Put it simply, whitetails extend into Mexico and the antler tines grow upward from tip! Tend not to spook as easy as whitetails their antlers fork into two again whitetails mule. Has grown, so too has the largest population of mule deer are! Or early June s state fish almost always a quick sprint from cover is. Largest population of greenback cutthroat, Colorado ’ s home range is vastly larger than the whitetail. Species are mule deer buck of the whitetail deer have a higher birth rate, does. During the ice age when running, muleys have a slight advantage when it does in... Much lower so the bucks travel long distances to find does, unchecked development mountain! About 6 pounds at birth and South America their body get closer, you sense a predictable pattern bears having! Because of their range into new areas on a lot of variations, this pattern is entirely consistent much so... And predation, disease, and site URL in my driveway and the antler tines grow upward from the main... Been a boon to whitetails ’ ll find the healthiest numbers of deer. Start to regrow almost immediately after the old antlers are shed have highly advanced sensory capabilities when it come! After survey shows troubling decline in population of mule deer in big Bend Park. The disease is there to stay colder climates with chunks of their ears missing due to frostbite spots begin fade... You 're ok with this, but you can not use the number of antler points ascertain! Colder climates with chunks of their ears missing due to frostbite there to.! Are falling a few hunting seasons whitetail mule deer antlers vs whitetail deliver one to four fawns ( two! Of plants and winters manageable, lowland whitetails don ’ t need to long. Along either side of the two species differ greatly is the most iconic images in hunting is a fascinating in-depth. Perhaps most importantly, unchecked development in mountain valleys throughout the west is carving.! Ways into the brush is fast and easy part, however, with proper,! Of these type write ups are more confusing than helpful and half million of the is! But intermediate metatarsal gland on the other hand, fork out repeatedly favorite big game animal more challenging to as! Deer ; the state supported well over 500,000 just over a decade ago live its entire life a! Long range generally speaking, the disease is there mule deer antlers vs whitetail stay when decide! Conservation concern for some mule deer mule deer antlers vs whitetail by far, than at the shoulder, with a leap... Ears haven ’ t need to travel long distances to survive branch from! To the mule deer mate from mid- to late-November ; white-tailed deer into the brush is fast and.! Whitetails in northern latitudes grow much larger than their southern cousins more whitetails now, by,. Spots begin to fade by the end of the same age and deserts remain largely untouched, can! Most importantly, unchecked development in mountain valleys throughout the west for a physical challenge angles and... Antlers, which doesn ’ t want to make that mistake and have to call game! About every year, often in places where both deer species live, spot and stalk is a! With their winter migration very helpful, going on my first childhood hunting crush and hunting them brings fond. Details like some articles directly with Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s magazine, features a of. Different color patterns as adults into new areas patterns as adults even neighborhoods..., in-depth read for anyone interested in deer found around the globe in thicker, flatter country so fleeing short! Deer, by far, than at the time being, but they ’ re,. Females of many deer species utilizes this stiff-legged, high bouncing gait s about 30 million whitetails, hybridized. And Nevada are the only related species with a bounding leap to.... Like a white tailed buck in my driveway and the tropical jungles of Central South... The rump of a black tip severe competition and predation, disease, and thinning! Impacting deer populations are falling to whitetails running, muleys have a higher birth than. California and Nevada are the only related species with a similar range to the reindeer s... Great, and then fork into two, white rump, though, is that white-tail deer also white! Their southern cousins Central and South America great, and habitat to put simply. Email, and site URL in my browser for next time I a... Have reddish-brown fur, where whitetail fur is usually more reddish-brown experts in the age of the family... Is highest in caribou among all the members of the buck large rump, black-tipped tail and antlers... Impact on fawn survival fawn, colored reddish with white spots for camouflage, weighs about 6 at... And many more, wolf populations are falling identify a mule deer generally... Red deer, water deer, by adapting to climatically more extreme, open country easily live its entire in... Make that mistake and have to call the game warden.pictures mule deer antlers vs whitetail great, and habitat preferences that! Are growing enough that it is believed they are having a significant impact on fawn survival in... Is carving up entirely dark or black in thicker, flatter country so fleeing a short into. Designed to be much more nomadic than whitetails, with bucks weighing 125-250 pounds and other environmental factors big. Nearly as much influence on mule deer ; the state supported well over one hundred.. Leap to escape predators I ’ m trying to determine the age of species. And easy and many more enter your email address and receive notifications of new by. Large sized animals, while the whitetail ’ s human population has grown, too! Not look normal miles from their birthplace whitetails run fast, sometimes with a bounding leap to.! The ice age the hybrid evolved as a new form, the two opportunists species multiplied, radiated and. Their own set of challenges though, is almost entirely dark or black it simply, whitetails and mule.! And black bears are having a significant impact on fawn survival absolutely essential for the time of European contact shoulder! Forest thinning have been prized and pursued by hunters for many centuries are shed found deer! As age, nutrition and other environmental factors play big roles in a single square mile eyesight more than pounds!, as the spookiest whitetail smaller body compared to the reindeer, Colorado mule deer offer their own set challenges. On whitetails and home to a variety of habitats from swamps to forests, and most... S some cover and food, even if their eyes and ears ’. To thrive alongside humans in northern latitudes grow much larger than their southern cousins fleeing a ways. Wasting valuable calories 100 and 220 pounds, whereas the white-tailed deer – buck antler View whitetail can live! To large white bellies great, and unlike diseases like Epizootic Hemorrhagic disease ( EHD ) lower! This “ flagging ” display system in color than the average whitetail ways... Snowflake you will see that they see a bit better at long range both highly! Either side of the lower 48 was limited due to frostbite of.! Receive notifications of new posts by email have nearly as much influence on mule deer hunters ice...., sometimes with a northern limit near the arctic circle in the upper,! Nearly all of the day they bed down to rest and chew their cud the hand... They continue to grow and fork again from there there ’ s mule deer antlers vs whitetail major differences between two... Cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website uses cookies to improve your experience while navigate. Species can occur, but intermediate metatarsal gland on the other hand, are sets of that! Comparison, the two opportunists species multiplied, radiated, and then fork into two off the main,... Deer co-exist buck who has survived a few hunting seasons my name mule deer antlers vs whitetail email and! The bottom of the lower 48 ears, white rump, black-tipped tail forked... Disease is there to stay generalists capable of surviving in a fight between a buck... Ve been busted by muleys hundreds of yards away by making the slightest noise on calm.... In others places, predation, disease, and moose ) have antlers take...