Mule Deer in MI?

This is a discussion on Mule Deer in MI? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I have a weekend of extended family fun, and part of that includes conversations of fishing and hunting. The big hunting conversation this year has ...

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Thread: Mule Deer in MI?

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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Mule Deer in MI?

    I have a weekend of extended family fun, and part of that includes conversations of fishing and hunting.

    The big hunting conversation this year has to do with a different looking doe. During rifle season, I caught a glimpse of her running, with an older fawn or small doe / yearling buck. Others caught a better look at her later during black powder season.

    Extended family claims they have seen her during the spring / summer. No pictures. In addition, claims that she is a mule deer have increased. I have my doubts.

    I have to admit, she was a bit darker then most deer I have seen. I did not see the tail (I've never focused on this feature, because everything MI is white). She is shorter (given her size) but longer. None of those who have seen the doe have done much deer hunting other then white tail (but that supports the mule deer scuttle, as this one sticks out).

    So a cousin points out to me in a report he had a copy of that of deer tested for TB, the report stated it was found in MI, in X number of white tail and 1 mule deer. So I state the mule deer that had TB could have come from a private hunting ranch. The obvious reply, maybe the doe we are seeing escaped a ranch. We hunt in mid-michigan.

    This is the closest thing I belong to that has hunters is this forum. Until tagged or pictured, I'm starting to think we have a doe mule deer in MI.

    Any thoughts?
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    VIP Member Array Cupcake's Avatar
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    huh, never heard of it. I'm not big into hunting or animal identification, so if I've ever seen one I thought it was just a fawn.

    I do really want to kill a feral pig, though...just need to find them.
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    Elk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post

    The big hunting conversation this year has to do with a different looking doe. During rifle season, I caught a glimpse of her running, with an older fawn or small doe / yearling buck. Others caught a better look at her later during black powder season.

    Extended family claims they have seen her during the spring / summer. No pictures. In addition, claims that she is a mule deer have increased. I have my doubts.

    ...

    This is the closest thing I belong to that has hunters is this forum. Until tagged or pictured, I'm starting to think we have a doe mule deer in MI.

    Any thoughts?
    Could be Elk, last time I hunted in SW VA folks said there are wild elk in the area, and in neighboring states.
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    Member Array celticredneck's Avatar
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    The was one elk taken in SW Va that I heard of. But since Va does not have elk, it was registered as a deer. They sometimes cross the border from a neighboring state which has a small herd. Va doesn't want elk here, due to fears of Chronic Wasting Disease

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    Quote Originally Posted by celticredneck View Post
    Va doesn't want elk here, due to fears of Chronic Wasting Disease
    Suppose they don't want deer either.
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    VA doesn't have deer, just scrawny dogs with antlers.

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    It is possible.

    Its not unsual for deer to overlap their known areas of habitation.

    What we sometimes forget is that what we list as areas of habitation is due to surveys can easily miss certain areas. The maps are at best an eductated guess.

    Also it is entirey possible that it came from a private ranch.

    Also,if its got a big ugly head, it could be a young moose.
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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    On a hunting forum I joined, someone stated it would run differently. Perhaps I'm considered less of a sportsman by some, but I did not notice this. It easily outpaced the other deer it was with, but maybe this plus just running differently, made it look faster to me.

    IMO, just a short but stubby white tail with a little darker coat. You never know, maybe even a hybrid that escaped a ranch. I'm not 100% sure, thanks for the replies.

    PS- I did learn someone took a fallow deer in MI, so this stuff does happen.
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    A mule deer does sort of lope...when it runs it isnt neer as smooth as a deer.
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    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    It was probably a Fallow Deer doe, they are smaller then White Tails. Mule deer are larger then White Tails as are Elk. The mule deer tail is brown with a black tip, also Mule Deer ears are larger then White Tail ears..

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    AS an avid hunter in Montana, I have to back up the above^^. No way it was an elk, they dwarf deer.

    mule deer doe - Google Images

    Lots of pics of muley does! BTW, white tails tend to be milder in flavor, but it all depends on their diet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post
    Any thoughts?
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    I have lived and hunted in Michigan all my life...I have property in the U.P and in the "thumb area" and have friends near Grand Rapids . I have spent countless hours in the woods and the field an have not seen or heard of a mule deer being taken in Michigan... There are a lot of "dear farms" in Michigan and it is possible that a muley got out but the chances of that are slim. Darker color variations are common in deer I have seen deer with very dark coats especially in the U.P.

    I have seen one elk in the wild and trust when you see one , you know it is an elk.

    If there is a report of a mule deer in the T.B. zone I would love to see it. At the rate that deer are being taken in that zone and the fact that every one of them have to be tested, For one mule deer to show up would be a fluke at best...
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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnklFungus View Post
    ...Lots of pics of muley does!...
    UnklFungus, the pic you have is real close to what I observed. I did not notice the tail. Was busy trying to run and load safely at the time. Very similiar color. I don't think it had mule deer ears, andthat would be hard to miss (but again, I was not thinking about details at the time, just think that is a big doe (had an permit), need to reload).

    I don't think it was elk. An Uncle, who thinks it is a mule deer or some type of hybrid, has seen elk, and states it is not elk (he has never hunted mule deer, or outside MI). My uncle has lived and hunted 50+ years in mid-MI, he was an animal control officer (retired). He believes there is just something off about the doe. He does not know what it is, he just has never seen a white tail like that before (nothing crazy big, but big and long).

    He plans to take it during bow season.

    My relatives (Saturday) shared with me that there are private ranches in MI with mule deer. I guess one of the possible cause of CWD in MI was due to mule deer (who are more likely to catch CWD) passing it onto white-tail or breed mule-deer / white-tail hybrids.

    There were attempts, in MI, to hybrid white-tail and mule-deer, as a way to increase the size of white-tail breeds. This worked for farms, but the hybrids are unlikely to make it in the wild do to the two breeds escape behaviour. I researched this a little more and came up with this on wiki:

    "In captivity, Mule Deer have been mated to White-tail Deer. Both male Mule Deer/female White-tailed Deer and male White-tailed Deer/female Mule Deer matings have produced hybrids. Less than 50% of the hybrid fawns survived their first few months. Hybrids have been reported in the wild but are disadvantaged because they don't properly inherit survival strategies. Mule Deer move with bounding leaps (all 4 hooves hit the ground at once, also called "stotting") to escape predators. Stotting is so specialized that only 100% genetically pure Mule Deer seem able to do it. In captive hybrids, even a one-eighth White-tail/seven-eighths Mule Deer hybrid has an erratic escape behaviour and would be unlikely to survive to breeding age. Hybrids do survive on game ranches where both species are kept and where predators are controlled by man."

    Odds are, it was not a mule deer. I was watching some video, and I can see what has been state about how they run. I think there is a slight possibility of a hybrid, but that would be very unlikely, due to the noted erratic escape behaviour in hybrid mule / white-tail.

    Most likely just a little darker fur white-tail with a longer then average body.
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