Home Hair color The North Dakota Game and Fish Department manages two species of deer

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department manages two species of deer

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BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) — The North Dakota Game and Fish Department manages two species of deer in our state, and in this week’s segment of North Dakota Outdoors, Mike Anderson explains the difference between the two.

The two species of deer in North Dakota are the white-tailed deer and the mule deer. And it’s pretty obvious how they got their names.

“The white-tailed deer gets its name from its big white tail. The mule deer gets its name from the fact that it has large ears like a mule,” said NDGF big game biologist Bill Jensen.

Mule deer inhabit much of western North Dakota, but can also be seen in small pockets in the eastern part of the state. White-tailed deer can be found almost anywhere.

“Whitetail, you know, they mostly evolved in a more wooded and wooded setting. Whereas mule deer are mostly found in more open, arid country and rough terrain,” Jensen said.

The antlers also differ between these two species of deer.

“The antlers of a mule deer are bifurcated, or they split and then split again. So it’s quite distinctive. As a whitetail deer antlers, the main beam goes up, out and coils forward,” Jensen said.

While white-tailed deer have a big white tail, the mule deer’s tail is quite different.

“A mule deer’s tail isn’t as thick. He tends to be a little stringy with a black tip, but they have a big white ass, that’s their main signaling message about hair color,” Jensen said.

Jensen says you can identify these species of deer by their different gaits when they sense danger.

“The mule deer has a particular kind of gait where, when alarmed, it bounces across the landscape, this is called stotting. Whereas the White Tail tends to have an all-out bolt race,” Jensen said.