Best Deer Hunting In Oregon in 2023
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Differences Between White-tail Deer and Mule Deer
Deer are magnificent animals whether White-tailed Deer or Mule Deer. There are some distinct differences between the two animals that set them apart.
Where They Live
White-tail deer, also known as the Virginia deer or whitetail, are native to all but five states (Nevada, Utah, California, Hawaii and Alaska) as well as Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America. The occurrence of White-tail deer is expanding to Peru, New Zealand, Finland and Prince George, British Columbia.
The Mule Deer live in western North America, specifically the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. The Mule Deer also lives in Kauai (Hawaii) and Argentina.
Obviously, the Mule Deer's name is because the ears are shaped like a mule. In contrast, the White-tail Deer's ears are smaller and appear proportioned to the head.
Many a hunter prizes trophy antlers to display proudly on walls. The specific difference between the two deer's antlers is that the Mule Deer's antlers fork as they grow instead of branching from a single main beam in the case of the White-tail Deer.
The Mule Deer's tail is black-tipped whereas the White-tail Deer's tail underside is white.
Size and Weight
The male White-tail Deer generally weighs between 130 to 300 pounds and the female 90 to 200 pounds. The Mule Deer is larger at the shoulder averaging 40 to 42 inches and the White-tail Deer stands about 32 to 40 inches. Size variation occurs very little with the Mule Deer as it does with the White-tail Deer.
What They Eat
Depending on the time of the year, the Mule Deer likes to eat berries, leaves, conifers, trees, shrubs, acorns, apples and high amounts of fresh grass. The White-tail Deer eats a large variety of food such as plants, leaves, cacti, acorns, fruit, corn, mushrooms that are poisonous to humans, hay and other food found on farms. They have been known to eat nesting songbirds and field mice. This picture of the White-tail Deer taken outside our backyard was eating bird food.
In 2000, the Nevada Department of Wildlife estimated a population of approximately 250,000 Mule Deer in that state and it is generally believed that overall Mule Deer populations are declining in the United States; whereas White-tail Deer populations in the U.S. soar into the millions.
The White-tail Deer being prevalent in so many states is more widely known by people than the Mule Deer. Most people have never seen a Mule Deer since the deer are mainly confined to the Rocky Mountains. Either deer offers humans an opportunity to enjoy their distinct beauty and to appreciate their differences.