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TERRITORY WARS: Whitetail v. Mule Deer May 16, 2011 Texsas

TERRITORY WARS  May 16, 2011  Texsas  Population Management

.. Landowners have mixed opinions on how to manage property where the two species overlap. There are only about 500,000 mule deer in Texas, and more than 4 million whitetails. Whitetails prefer a brush density of around 75 percent, while mule deer prefer more open rangeland with brush density at 40 percent. As the height and density of brush increases and our CRP grassland slowly becomes overgrown with mesquite and cedar trees, whitetail will migrate toward these areas and mule deer will migrate toward more open ground. The best management technique is to control brush overgrowth by clearing vegetation.

Whitetail deer and mule deer do interbreed, with whitetail bucks being the more aggressive pursuers of willing partners. Research conducted in Donley County and the Trans-Pecos area of West Texas reveal an 8 percent rate of hybridization in areas where territories overlap. Hybrids have a limited ability to successfully breed and show inconsistent coloration and horn configuration.

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