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I thought I was losing my mind!


Birdcountry70

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Birdcountry70

Yesterday was yet another day spent on my 7 year quest to take a truly big mule deer buck. I found one that tempted me but ended up not being able to decide whether to shoot or not and then the opportunity had passed. Today I set out before light with a more attainable goal. I would look for a whitetail doe to fill one of my 2 antlerless whitetail tags and secure some more meat for the freezer. I  planned to sneak to the edge of a small bluff that overlooks a brushy creek bottom with a lot of box elder trees and wait for shooting light while I lay on a chunk of carpet on the snow. Dawn showed me around 15 deer below me, a band of mulies. I had watched them for about 25 minutes making sure there were no worthy bucks hidden by brush when one of the does turned away from me and I noticed that it was actually a whitetail. I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed earlier but got lined up for the shot as she turned towards me. Whoa! It's just another mulie! I felt pretty dumb for almost having shot a doe mulie which would have to get tagged with my A tag ending my hunting for a buck this year. I let her disappear into the brush to my left and kept hoping a giant buck would materialize, knowing it wouldn't happen. 15 or so minutes later that doe stepped out into the open about 80 yards to my left quartering away. Now I had no doubt it was a whitetail. I was chewing myself out in my mind "what the hell is wrong with me? I can tell a whitetail from a mulie in a quick glance,  but today I can't figure it out?" She looked the other way and the 120 grain nosler zipped through her chest. She spun around and fell in the tracks she was standing in.  I stood up and started walking to her and the bottom dropped out of my stomach when I saw that it was a mule deer. I  thought I must be losing my friggin mind! As I got close to it everything started making sense. I had shot a hybrid.  A whitetail mule/deer cross. It has some characteristics of each species,  long white tail and a whitetail looking butt. Ears something in between and chest and dark belly of a mule deer with the same course hair. Also, she was too darn big to be a whitetail. The game wardens at the check station came to my pickup window and asked what did I get? I just said "you guys look and then you can tell me what I got? They peeked in the back of the truck "well I'll be!" One of them said he has seen 2 other hybrids in his career. 

20201116_075229.jpg

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drummer's stump

So did you tag it as a whitetail, or mule deer? I know in waterfowl hybrids don't count towards your limit. 

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I think it’s cool how when you expect a day to be routine that something extraordinary can happen.  How cool to take a deer so rare and have it confirmed.   

 

A great memory, and when some easterner asks you “have you ever seen a mulie/whitetail cross” ...well yes I have 😉

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Birdcountry70
1 hour ago, drummer's stump said:

So did you tag it as a whitetail, or mule deer? I know in waterfowl hybrids don't count towards your limit. 

My tag was for a whitetail doe and the wardens were fine with it. One did jokingly say I should have put my tag on a back leg rather than front because the back of the deer looked more like a whitetail. 

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Birdcountry70
1 minute ago, grouse28 said:

Looks like mule deer feet.

I think so too. When you're used to seeing either whitetail or mule deer this thing really messes with your head. I found photos of a couple others online and they look quite similar to this.

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1 hour ago, Birdcountry70 said:

My tag was for a whitetail doe and the wardens were fine with it. One did jokingly say I should have put my tag on a back leg rather than front because the back of the deer looked more like a whitetail. 

Made me chuckle

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