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Backpacker Magazine – May 2008

See More: Deer

Learn the difference between elk, white-tails, and mule deer.

by: Becky Lomax

PAGE 1 2 3

Elk | Mule Deer | White-Tailed Deer

White-Tailed Deer
Odocoileus virginianus
Weighing between 110 and 250 pounds, white-tails are smaller and shyer than other deer.

As many as 20 million white-tails inhabit most of the Lower 48 with the exception of California, Nevada, and Utah. Subspecies exist in Arizona, Oregon, and New Mexico.

Able to thrive everywhere from conifer and deciduous forests to swamps and farm lands, these skittish animals prefer open country with adjacent forests for protection.

They flash the white underside of their tails when startled, hence the name. Acute senses alert them to predators, which they outrun by sprinting and leaping.

Even humans can detect the musky, gym-socks scent that bucks rub on trees or scrape on the ground during the fall breeding season.

Antlers
Heart-shaped rack curves forward; tines branch (not fork) from main beams
Rump
Tan 6- to 10-inch-long tail with white underside
Coat
Fur turns from red-brown in summer to dull gray in winter; white belly and throat

Elk | Mule Deer | White-Tailed Deer


PAGE 1 2 3

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