Mule Deer vs Whitetail: What’s The Difference

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You might have always wondered what is the difference between a mule deer and a whitetail and why people are so often confused between them. The answer isn’t simple which is why we have the article for you. We will be discussing what are the main differences between a mule and a whitetail. We will also discuss the very many factors that make these two different. There is a reason why these two animals are often confused but by the end of this article you’d be able to know the exact difference between a mule and a whitetail. Ready? Strap on. 

About Mule Deer

A mule deer gets its name from its massive ears. Half mules come under the classification of Odocoileus Hemionus, the species name is in Latin which loosely translates into “half-mule”. Their tail is a very large patch of white that’s partly covered by a rope-like white tail with a black tip. You’re able to see their tails’ color whether it’s up or down. 

Mule Deer

About Whitetail

Whitetail deer species is called  Odocoileus Virginianus in Latin which loosely translates into “Virginia deer”. Whitetails get their name from their tails, although you can’t see the whites in their tails unless it’s standing, which it does only when they’re alert. 

Whitetail

Mule Deer Vs Whitetail: Factors to Compare

 Antlers

Both the bucks shed their antlers every year, whitetails mostly in January or February. Mule Deers have to hold up their respective racks a month longer since they shed them in February or March. Once the mule’s antlers are matured and fully formed they are taller and broader than whitetails. Antlers of a mule are like a reverse pine tree, they split to create more tines, whereas whitetail antlers will have a one-track growth of the tines.  Antlers are known to determine the age of the buck, the bigger and broader they are (if they are getting proper nutrition) the older the buck. Older bucks have larger antlers with more points than the younger ones. 

Body Size 

It’s difficult to say for sure but Mule Deers tend to be bigger and weigh more than the white-tailed deers. Age, nutrition, and environmental factors play a role in determining the size of the deers. Whitetail deers size varies the most. The average size would be; 

For White-tailed Deers- Height- 95-220 cm, weight- 68kg for average Adult males and 45 kg for adult females.

For Mule Deer- Height- 0.9-1 meter, 

Weight- 59-127 Kg for average males. Females are smaller than males.  

Head Size

A mule’s face is usually white from the nose to the eyes. Whitetails’ face is mostly brown with white rings around their eyes and sometimes their nose. Both the deers will have a white patch on their throat. Mule’s ears are pointy and erected at 30 degrees whereas the white tail deers have rounded ears and they stand erect in a straight position without bending inward or outward. 

Color 

Mules have gray-brown fur whereas a whitetail will have brown fur with reddish tones. Whitetails also tend to get grayish in the winter. Which nullifies the Conor difference between them. Instead, hunters focus on how they run.

Running

Mules have a stiff leg bounding hop and whitetails have a gallop rather than a hop. 

Doe Size 

Mule deer doe’s weight is 100-220 pounds whereas a whitetail doe would weigh from 90-200 lbs. The birth rate is higher for whitetails and the does can breed their first fall at 6 months of age. Mules take a longer time to mature. Mule Deers mate from mid to late November and whitetails mate from late November to early December. For mule Deer’s gestation is seven months and sexy and a half for white-tailed Deers. 

Fawns

Mule deer and whitetails deliver one to four dawns, normally two. It usually happens in the month of late May or early June. Does usually produce single dawn in their first year and would follow that up by twins in a few years. Fawns usually weigh about 6 pounds at birth. They have to be nursed within the first hour so that they can stand within the first 12 hours. In the first month, the fawn only sees the mother at mealtimes so that it’s fed. Fawns have reddish-white spots that help them camouflage, they begin to fade by the end of the first month. Fawns usually stay with the dogs for their first year. 

Tail

The mule’s tail is a very large patch of white that’s partly covered by a rope-like white tail with a black tip. You’re able to see their tails’ color whether it’s up or down. Whereas the whitetails get their names due to their tails, although you can’t see the whites in their tails unless it’s standing, which it does only when they’re alert. 

 Ear 

 Mule’s ears are pointy and erected at 30 degrees whereas the white tail deers have rounded ears and they stand erect in a straight position without bending inward or outward. 

 Taste

The mule meat tastes very similar to a buff steak, it is chewy in nature and the whitetail meat tastes a lot like pork. They both have similar palettes except whitetails flavor is much lighter than that of a mule.

So What is the Mule Deer Vs Whitetail Difference?

The basic difference would be their antlers and their spots. Antlers of a mule are like a reverse pine tree, they split to create more tines whereas whitetails antlers will have a one-track growth of the times.  Antlers are known to determine the age of the buck, the bigger and broader they are (if they are getting proper nutrition) the older the buck. The other basic difference is how they run, Mules have a stiff leg bounding hop and whitetails have a gallop rather than a hop. 

 Conclusion

These were the quick differences between a mule deer and a whitetail. Remember the next time you see a beautiful dead deer hung in a colonial building or at grandpas, more antlers mean that the poor deer was quite old, putting the head up to show one’s hunting skills is not the flex grandpa thinks it is.

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