Found in the western United States, the mule deer is so named because of its large
ears. The mule deer is found throughout the west, but populations have dropped over
the past 20 years. One reason is that whitetails have moved west, following river
bottoms, and when whitetails move into an area, mule deer numbers decrease. Where
both species overlap, hybridization occurs, but is not common, and the hybrids cannot
breed successfully. Interestingly, you cannot distinguish a hybrid by its antlers.
This particular mule deer was taken in August of 1969 in Colorado. His antlers are
still in velvet. His fur looks a bit ratty, but this is normal as they molt from
summer pelage to winter during the molting phase in August.
This record book velvet buck was taken on my first out-of-state hunt, Colorado, in
August, 1970. In that camp I met two bowhunters who asked me to write for a new magazine,
Bowhunter, which I’ve done now for 45 years. Yes, this buck led me to a second career
and changed my life in a positive way.