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How To Correctly Identify Whitetail and Mule Deer
Are you able to distinguish the difference between a whitetail and a mule deer? It is important to be able to do so, as there are different regulations per species. Here are a few key differences (see also the picture in the bottom of this article).
The first difference is between the faces. The Mule deer face is mostly white. However, the Whitetails face is mostly brown, just like the rest of its fur, but it has white circles around its eyes and nose.
The next big difference is the difference between the backsides of each deer. Even though the name of the Whitetail suggests that a whitetail has a ‘white’ tail, the Mule deer actually has more white on it’s backside than the Whitetail. So the name can be a bit confusing. A Mule Deer’s rump has a large patch of white only partly covered by a thin white tail. The tail has a black tip. The Whitetail, on the other hand, has a brown rump with a fat, dark tail. Only when the Whitetail lifts its tail will you see white.
Some Other Indicators
The next differences aren’t always so reliable when you are 100+ yards away from the animal, but they are still good indicators. Mule deers have large mule-like ears. The fur on a Mule deer is more greyish-brown where the fur on a Whitetail is reddish-brown. Mule deers are generally larger in size. The Antler shape is another difference. Mule deer antlers grow, split in two directions, grow, split again, etc. The Whitetails’ antlers points grow off on main "stem."