A couple of days ago, something odd happened, usually the whitetail deer are very skittish around people, if they hear, see or smell you, their tail goes up and they bound away. I was up on the west deck and I noticed a whitetail standing on the ground, it looked up at me but didn’t run away. I slowly went into the house and got some crackers, I came back out, expecting the deer to run away at each movement and sound I made. Instead of running off, the deer stayed put, I threw a cracker down at its feet, I expected it to run away, but it started munching down on the cracker. A few minutes later, another whitetail appeared, I threw more crackers and they happily munched away.
A short time later, some mule deer walked up, I didn’t know what either group would do, they seemed sort of OK with each other, a little skittish but no one ran away, at least not at first, I threw more crackers down and each group munched on them, eventually the bigger mulies scared the more dainty whitetails away, but not too far, they stayed around to finish off their snack.
This is the first time I saw both whitetail and mule deer together in such close quarters, they usually stick to their own, though there is some interbreeding going on, occasionally you will see a herd of mulies running around and one of them will have smaller than normal ears, I haven’t seen as many whitetails so I don’t know if the breeding goes the other way as well, though I’m sure it can and probably does.
It was interesting to see the two of them together, that gave me the opportunity to see the differences between them. Their coloring is a bit different, the whitetails have a reddish coat, the mulies have more buff coloring. The tails are different, the whitetails have, well, fluffy white tails, the top is the normal coat color, the underside is fluffy white, the mulies have a less fluffy tail, and it’s mostly black. They are about the same size height wise, the mulies are bulkier, they have bigger heads and much bigger ears, their necks are a bit bigger. The whitetails are much more delecate, they have a slender head, much smaller ears and a more slender neck. Both have just about the same leg size (length and width), the feet/hooves looked similar, and the body size is about the same, if there is any difference there, then the mulies would have a bit more bulk. The mulies seem to be the more aggressive of the two, of course this could be because the mulies were young males, had they all been females, it might have been different.
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