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White Tails And Mulies


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#1 Spirithawk

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Posted 08 September 2007 - 04:54 PM

My son, Jason, brought me a new hunting magazine and an article in it swears that White Tails and Mule Deer can't cross breed succesfully. It states that a Mule Deer Doe can breed with a White Tail Buck, but that any off-spring would not likely survive the first year. Now correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Dave Watson, back in Secrets of the Hunt days, do a show on crossbreed White Tails and Mulies? If I remember right it took place in Kansas and Dave actualy shot one. Said in that area they were not that uncommon. Personaly, I've seen some mighty large White Tails that appeared to have some Mule Deer traits and I had to wonder. So, is there such a critter or not?

Edited by Spirithawk, 08 September 2007 - 06:06 PM.


#2 Leo

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Posted 09 September 2007 - 11:04 AM

I believe there are such critters but these hybrids are apparently at a disadvantage to survive. Otherwise they'd probably occur with more frequency.

I do know that typically where both are found the whitetails end up becoming the primary species as they tend to be more adaptable than mulies.
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#3 mudduck

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 09:19 AM

From Texas Parks and Wildlife White-tailed and Mule Deer Interactions
A question often asked by west Texas landowners and hunters is “Are white-tailed deer driving out the mule deer?” White-tailed deer do not physically “drive out” mule deer from an area; however, in some areas mule deer numbers are declining while white-tailed deer numbers are increasing. This change in species composition gives the appearance that the mule deer are being physically displaced. What actually is occurring is a gradual change in the vegetation that favors white-tailed deer.

In areas where the height and density of brush is increasing, the habitat is becoming more suitable for white-tailed deer and less desirable for mule deer. Research indicates that mule deer in Texas prefer a brush canopy cover of 40 percent or less, while white-tailed deer numbers increase dramatically in areas with a brush canopy exceeding 50 percent (Wiggers and Beasom 1986). The greatest white-tailed deer numbers were found in areas that consisted of about two-thirds brush cover. When the two species occupy the same area, they often are segregated-- mule deer preferring the high, rougher canyons and open hillsides and white-tailed deer occupying the brushy draws and lowlands. An exception to this generality occurs in Jeff Davis County where white-tailed deer occur on the densely wooded mountain tops and mule deer occur in the relatively open lower slopes and flats.

Where mule deer and white-tailed deer coexist, interbreeding does occur. The long-term effects are unknown, and for most areas, the extent of hybridization is not known. The highest incidence of hybridization in the Trans-Pecos occurs in the eastern part of the region where high populations of mule deer and white-tailed deer coexist. Using a technique called “polyacrylamidel electrophoresis,” Stubblefield et al. (1986) estimated that up to 14 percent of deer may be hybrids where both species occupy the same range, although the average occurrence of hybrids was only about 5%. Many ranches where the 2 species overlapped showed no evidence of hybridization. Using a more accurate technique (DNA sequencing), Cathey et al. (1998) found that 7.7% of 26 deer sampled were hybrids in the West Texas zone of contact (Terrell, Pecos, and Brewster counties). DNA sequencing was also used to determine the extent of hybridization in the Panhandle (Donley County) where the ranges of both species overlap. The results of a small sample of deer (n= 40) indicated a hybridization frequency of 8% (F. Bryant, pers. comm.). Observations by Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists during the hunting season indicate that true hybrids are extremely rare. Out of several hundred deer that are checked each year, it is rare to find a single hybrid.

Antler characteristics, tail coloration, and ear length are not reliable in recognizing hybrids. First generation hybrids often can be identified by the length of the metatarsal gland that is located on the outside of the rear leg between the hock and the hoof. It typically will measure about ¾-inch long in whitetails and about 4 inches long in mule deer. The metatarsal gland of hybrids is intermediate in length, measuring about 2 inches long. Second generation hybrids can not be identified by their appearance. The predominant successful breeding among hybrids is between white-tailed bucks and mule deer does (Carr and Hughes 1993, Cathey et al. 1998), but interbreeding also can occur between mule deer bucks and white-tailed does. Hybrids appear to have at least a limited degree of fertility (Whitehead 1972, Derr et al. 1991, Cathey et al. 1998).

#4 Spirithawk

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 09:49 AM

Great info. Thanks guys.

#5 Rowdy Yates

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Posted 10 September 2007 - 10:51 AM

:read: Great read Jeff.

I just talked about this with an outfitter from Kansas that had both species on his ranch and he knows he's got hybrid deer. If I remember right he's got some mounted buck with the coloration of mulie with rack of a whitetail. And mentioned the metatarsal gland being small for a mulie but larger than a WT.
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#6 bonecollector34

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Posted 11 September 2007 - 08:43 PM

Yep, we see em in Wyoming in the river bottoms. Whitetail bucks and mule deer does X

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#7 Spirithawk

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 08:51 AM

Just goes to show that you can't believe everything you read. :lol:

#8 Fossil

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 09:17 AM

See them in the SW here too........... :yes:
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#9 iamyourhuckleberry

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 06:45 AM

I have encountered them here in Colorado as well. The one I saw had a mule deer body and a whitetail rack. His ears were just slightly smaller than normal. It was difinitely a hybrid.
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#10 WRBH

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Posted 28 September 2007 - 08:17 PM

There was a mount in the bar across the street that I swear was a crossbreed because of the way the rack looked, will nevr know for sure, but I think they can. From what I've been reading, blacktails are a sub species of mulies so they do change. Also other animals have been known to like Ligaes (lIon and tiger cross) and walphins (Killer whale and Dolphin) Randy had a chicken and a phesant breed so guess anything is possible.

#11 steelrain202

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 12:52 PM

We used to see them when I lived in Oklahoma.
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#12 Leo

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Posted 29 September 2007 - 02:36 PM

There was a mount in the bar across the street that I swear was a crossbreed because of the way the rack looked, will nevr know for sure, but I think they can. From what I've been reading, blacktails are a sub species of mulies so they do change. Also other animals have been known to like Ligaes (lIon and tiger cross) and walphins (Killer whale and Dolphin) Randy had a chicken and a phesant breed so guess anything is possible.


Tina,

I've seen plenty of whitetail racks mounted with "mule deer" capes and vice versa. Usually these "jackalope" style mounts end up in restaurants or stores because they embarrass the original owners. These things aren't hybrids, they are just cobbed together fantasies.

When certain hybrids don't exist prevalently in the wild, where species overlap naturally occurs, it's primarily because the hybrids are at a competitive disadvantage, or are sterile.

When the hybridization occurs only because geographic boundaries have be crossed, you can end up with some impressive stuff. An example, "Super Reds" are cross-breeds of elk to red deer, they can be EXTREMELY impressive. On the flip side, sika/red deer crosses are usually small antlered with huge bodies. Sika, red deer and Elk are actually all the same species. They are only different sub-species. Hybridization of the three produces varying results.

If the mule/whitetail cross was impressive we'd see more of them. Often, they are not.
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#13 silvertip-co

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Posted 01 October 2007 - 06:21 AM

..read up on blacktail deer. They are the cross.
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