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What is the furthest east state that has a season on mule deer? And why have they not populated further east? It seems the whi

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  • What is the furthest east state that has a season on mule deer? And why have they not populated further east? It seems the whi

    What is the furthest east state that has a season on mule deer? And why have they not populated further east? It seems the whitetail has ranged further west.

  • #2
    id have to say western nebraska??? cant speak as to why they havent moved east.

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    • #3
      I took a nice five by five whitetail in Idaho, that’s pretty far west.

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      • #4
        Muleys occasionally wander into Minnesota. They are apparently legal to shoot there. Mule deer are a dry land species. They occur at higher elevations in the mountains of the West because technically those areas are "drier". Lots of accumulated snow during winters doesn't necessarily translate into lots of annual precipitation.

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        • #5
          You could draw a line from North Dakota to Texas and that would be the mule deer boundary. Like OHH said, mule deer like the high desert plains and high country in general. Mule deer cannot adapt as well to habit changes, whitetails on the other hand can adapt very well hence their migration westward. Mule deer are greatly effected by loss of habitat or changes in habitat such as mining and drilling. The mule deer have really been hit hard the last few years. Hard winters, drought, loss of or disruption of their habitat have all formed together to make it really tough for muleys. Of the states I apply for mule deer tags, they have all cut back on quotas.

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          • #6
            Thanks jay. good information.

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            • #7
              If I'm not mistaken mule deer are a hybrid(not sure that is correct term) of the blacktail and whitetail. Blacktail as far as I know are not located on the east side of the rockies meaning the whitetails breed with a blacktail and returned east. I do not know all this is correct but I seem to remember a biologist talking about this being the way mule deer came about.

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              • #8
                Dcast, the animal formerly known as the desert mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus crooki) is actually a cross between Rocky Mountain mule deer and whitetail. It is apparently not a hardy hybrid with low survival rates outside of West Texas. The true blacktailed deer (both the Sitka and Columbia varieties) are a separate subspecies of the mule deer but they have little opportunity to interbreed as the blacktail are pretty much wet climate animals while mule deer proper are dry climate critter. There are also several valid subspecies of mule deer proper (desert mule deer crooki has been discounted) but the most prevalent is the Rocky Mountain mule deer.

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                • #9
                  Jay, the Rocky Mountain mule deer are not affected at all by drilling. I have seen them wandering around gas shacks and drilling platforms. The access roads for those facilities are what's hardest on them in that they provide ready access to hunters that ordinarily would not have been there. Rocky Mountain mule deer are in fact a very resilient deer species. A wonderful resource to manage because the does will typically have twin fawns after the first breeding and they are exceptional parents. Drought is hard on them right now. They are much more resilient to blue tongue epidemics than whitetail because they tend to prefer the dryer areas where the bugs that carry the parasite are less prevalent (and also more open to wind which blows the bugs away). It has been my experience that the hardest thing on mule deer populations has been piss poor management. They typically aren't terribly bright (certainly not like whitetails) and aren't real hard to hunt. Consequently, they are easily victims to overhunting. Mule deer seem to adapt well to most agriculture practices although they can get hit hard by overgrazing of livestock (more common during the droughts). Whitetail are tough competition and the explosion of that species in areas of the West that were formerly solely mule deer habitat has also hurt them. For whatever reason, mule deer seem to be able to coexist with antelope very well ... but not with whitetails.

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                  • #10
                    For those that have eaten both, which is the better table fair, mule deer or whitetail?

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                    • #11
                      Generally I prefer eating whitetail but each animal is different. Not a lot of difference usually.

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                      • #12
                        Muleys don't go east of the line from North Dakota to Texas because the ground is black dirt or clay. When they bound 10 feet in the air, as they do, their feet get stuck in the soil as they fall from the sky and they starve to death. Whitetails don't bound like that and consequently can thrive from California to New Hampshire. :-)

                        Whitetails definitely taste better too. Seriously! You won't find many Muley hunters killing a Muley for camp meet while hunting Muleys. They target whitetails.

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                        • #13
                          I also vote in favor of the delicious whitetail venison over the mule deer.

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                          • #14
                            Whitetails are probably the most adaptive creature there is with exception to the coyote and the cockroach. They range from Canada to Central America with many different sub species.I think muleys are more specalized to the prarie lands of the west. You give a whitetail a metro park in a city with 10,000,000 people and pretty soon they will be over populated.

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