Is that a mule deer or white-tailed deer?

Knowing the difference between mule deer and white-tailed deer is vitally important when hunting.

Here are the characteristics to keep in mind.

mule_deer_with_characteristics_listed
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Tim Lumley cc flickr

Mule Deer Characteristics

  • White rump 
  • White, rope-like tail with black tip
  • Antlers (on older males) branch equally, often ending in a "V"
  • Large mule-like ears
  • Long slit-like gland on hide legs
  • When startled, jump on all 4 legs, called a "pronk"
white-tailed deer listing characteristics
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Jeff Bryant cc flicker

White-tailed Deer Characteristics

  • Tail brown with white fringe, white underneath
  • Antlers (on older males) have a main beam with tines pointing upward
  • Small ears
  • Short slit-like gland on hind legs
  • When startled, lift tail and show white "flag"

mule deer buck at the MK Nature Center in a berry covered bush with Fall colors November 2016
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Peone Kelly

mule deer buck at the MK Nature Center in a berry covered bush with Fall colors November 2016