Monday, August 31, 2020

Can whitetail deer and mule deer crossbreed?

In certain situations, the many crossbreeding barriers collapse, and whitetails effectively pair with mule deer. Most of the resulting offspring display intermediate traits seen between two species. A hybrid's tail looks much like a traditional whitetail but is typically longer on the back surface and dark brown or black. The pre-orbital gland next to the eye is really in depth moderate, or can be as large as a mule deer.

Typically, antlers are much more whitetail-like, but can fork in older hybrids. In most areas of range overlap Whitetail / mule deer hybrids in the wild have been recorded. Amid these common occurrences, true hybrids, in fact, are very rare. 

The rareness of reported species amongst these hundreds of deer seen in the range overlap region each year shows how rare they are. Every year hunters receive various reports of hybrid deer, but most are not. Some of these hybrid reports come from hunters who put their whitetail tag on a mule deer's leg and try to persuade the game warden that they're at least half right.

Can whitetail deer and mule deer crossbreed?


Analysis has shown that hybridization is taking place in both ways — that is, mule deer bucks do white-tailed mating and white-tailed bucks do mating mule deer. Hybridization seems to be the most common "way" between a white-tailed buck and mule deer doe. This is because whitetails in their breeding behavior are much more competitive and any mule deer doe that doesn't run fast enough will be bred pretty quickly. That this is confirmed by the fact that most hybrids tend to be found in mule deer classes.