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You’re driving down the road when you see a deer in headlights… But, what kind of deer is it? After all, there’s more to deer than just antlers.
Otherwise known as Cervidae, the deer family is pretty broad. In fact, there are 43 species of deer.
But with members ranging from whitetail, elk, reindeer, red deer, and every dear deer in-between, how are you supposed to tell the difference?
Let’s explore the fundamental differences between 9 of the types of deer you’re likely to either encounter or hear about.
1. Whitetail Deer
This medium-sized mammal is native to the Americas, weighing in at anywhere from under 100 lbs to over 300 lbs.
Doe (female deer) can weigh anywhere between under 100 lbs to 200 lbs.
White-tailed deer can sometimes be challenging to identify at first glance, as their coats change color seasonally. They can be found with reddish-brown coats under the summer sun, trading these in for more grayish-brown substitutes as winter closes in.
The white-tailed deer, usually referred to simply as the whitetail, earned its name thanks to the prominent white marking under its tail. (If a whitetail deer has piebaldism, it can lead to some unique and stunning markings.)
While the whitetail’s tail is primarily used to warn fellow deer when danger is near, this white marking also helps explorers and hunters distinguish the whitetail from other deer.
This particular deer is also unique in terms of body language. Whitetails are known to showcase various postures, including the “ear drop” to send other deer away, the “hard look” to show anger, the “antler threat” to display dominance, and the fighting stance to prepare for battle, so to speak.
During the breeding season, or “rut,” bucks (males) can often be found making violent antler contact, testing each other’s strength for the right to breed receptive does. This battle normally ends when one deer is too tired to continue but can also end in the death of one or both bucks.
Sometimes when fighting, bucks can get their antlers entangled with each other, unable to break apart. In these instances, bucks can even die if they cannot get separated.
Normally found across the hills of Central California and the mountainous region of Alaska, the Columbian black-tailed deer is a sub-species of the mule deer.
The blacktail is slightly smaller than most mule deer or his white-tailed cousin, though. Like white-tailed deer, blacktail also change their coat colors, from a reddish-brown in summer to a brownish-gray in winter.
Blacktail are normally easy to spot by their ears, which move independently. This particular deer’s broad tail is totally black or dark brown at the top, with a white patch underneath. This would make him easy to confuse with the white-tail, were it not for his distinctive dark brown antlers with symmetrical branching and easily-identifiable stocky bodies with long, slender legs.
Black-tailed deer weigh in at about 130 pounds, but can reach closer to 200. While blacktail males have antlers, their female counterparts do not – and male fawns start growing antlers at about 6-8 months old.
Blacktail can normally be found in forested mountains on the pacific coast, where the climate is mild and cool with plenty of rainfall. Blacktail live off a diet of acorns, fungi, lichen, nuts, berries, and shrubs
This specific kind of white-tailed deer is among the most commonly found across the South-Eastern mountains of Arizona, especially during the rainy summertime.
Coues can be found in woodlands where there is plenty of oak, chaparral, and pine.
Coues deer are known for their distinctive antlers. The coues’ mean beam curves forward, and more mature coues have 3-4 tines on each side.
When it comes to coat, the coues is normally grayish-brown with specks of “salt and pepper,” and white patches underneath. The coues’ most distinguishing trait is his long and broad tail, which is grayish-red-black on top and white underneath.
Coues deer are normally quite small, and fawns are known to stay close to their mothers for longer than other deer.
4. Mule Deer
Mule deer are commonly spotted in deserts across North and South America, flaunting large ears that first granted them their name.
The mule deer’s tail appears to have been dipped in black ink, and his antlers are forked.
You’ll also find a distinctive white patch on either hind side, which easily differentiates the mule deer from any other deer in America. The mule deer sports a grayish-brown coat, making it easier for him to adapt to his unique climate in desert areas.
Mule deer, often referred to as muleys, normally range from about 3 feet tall at the shoulders to a towering 7 feet (including antlers), weighing up to 280 pounds.
In addition to the whitetail, the mule deer is also one of the types of deer sought after by hunters.
5. Red Deer
These large land mammals (Britain’s largest, in fact) can weigh anywhere from 90 kg to 190 kg (around 100 to 225 lbs). They stand up to 1.37 meters (4-1/2 ft) tall at the shoulder, and can normally be found in wooded lowland areas.
But, the part of this deer’s anatomy that sets it apart from other deer so distinctly, is its noticeably large head and wide-spaced brown eyes.
A male red deer is called a stag. His antlers are perhaps his most distinctive feature – highly branched with multiple points on each.
The red deer’s antler branches increase with age at an angle. Another unmistakable trait of the red deer are its hoof prints, otherwise known as “slots.” These are often mistaken for sheep or goat’s marks.
Red deer are mostly found in forest habitats across England and Southern Scotland, and graze on grass and dwarf shrubs. They generally breed from the end of September to November.
6. Chital / Axis Deer
The Chital Deer, otherwise known as the axis deer, boasts unique characteristics that set it apart – one of which is the white spots that never go away. These speckled dots stay in place from youth through to adulthood, normally covering the entire body and spanning down the legs too. These spots make the axis deer one of the most easily recognized types of deer.
The Chital Deer also has a rather long muzzle topped off with a dark black nose. The axis deer normally weighs anywhere from 60 pounds to 170 pounds, depending on the region and habitat.
An interesting feature of male axis deer are their antlers, which normally have six points. However, more dominant bucks are found with more than this, making them significant trophies.
The axis deer were introduced in the United States in the 1930’s. The state of Texas has the highest population of axis deer in the U.S.
The axis deer is normally found living in secondary land areas, around glades where there is plenty to eat. The axis deer’s hoof shape prevents them from walking well on rugged terrain. So, they tend to avoid these types of areas.
The axis deer tend to be more social than other types of deer.
This member of the deer family is found primarily in the Western United States and Southern Canada.
The elk’s history is complex, with most being killed by Western U.S. settlers by the early 1900’s. The sole survivors were found mostly in the region just west of the Rocky Mountains.
Thankfully, reintroduction efforts were successful, and the elk can be found in many areas today – towering tall at 4-5 feet high at the shoulder. Some even reach up to 9 feet or higher, counting antler height. You can spot an Elk from a distance, with a copper brown coat. This can change to light tan during the Fall and Winter months.
Elk are also easily noticeable by their rump patch, and short light-brown tail. Elk can be found feeding on all types of plants, mostly grass. Although, elk also enjoy twigs, forbs, fir, juniper, aspen, and chokeberry. They also love shrubs, particularly during the cold winter months. Elk predators include cougars, wolves, coyotes, and bears, which often kill calves and sick adults.
This Christmas “legend” is actually a real deer. The male reindeer is unique among the rest, easily identifiable mainly by its antlers.
Other distinctive characteristics include his broad hooves, wide muzzle, and extra-thick brown fur.
These majestic creatures are a medium-sized member of the deer family, found across forests, mountains, and arctic tundra in Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Northern China. Reindeer normally travel in massive herds and live in the wild for about a decade.
More domesticated reindeer are herded by Asian Artic and European peoples.
Reindeer are herbivores, and spend most of the day grazing. During the cold winter months, Reindeer can be found grazing on moss and lichens, leaves and herbs.
9. Vampire Deer (Musk Deer)
Otherwise known as musk deer, these “vampires” are actually quite shy and prone to voluntary solitary confinement.
These gentle, nocturnal creatures differ from other cervids, due to their lack of antlers and facial glands. They earned their name through their distinctive sharp vampire-like “fangs.” The over-sized canine teeth are impossible to miss.
While their name and long fangs might scare you off, this unique Asian deer is actually harmless. You’ll normally find him in mountainous regions, like the Himalayas or Siberia.
Take note of his over-sized ears, exceptionally short tail, and lack of antlers. Traits like these make the vampire deer one of the easiest kinds to spot. His coat is grayish-brown, and his hair long and brittle.
Today, we’re going to show you how to tie the uni knot, sometimes referred to as the hangman’s knot. And, it’s not a very difficult knot to tie, but we want to show you how to do that. And, it’s a great knot for just about every fishing scenario. So, it’s a good one to have in your skill set. So, we’re using just a lure today, because it’s a little bit easier to see and hold onto for the video and 12 lb. mono.
So, we’re going to take the line, insert it through the eyelet. And, we’re going to pull about 6 inches or so on the tag end.
You’re going to take your two fingers right here. And, we’re going to just hold them right here above the eyelet.
We’re going to take the tag end and we’re going to make a loop. We’re going to loop it and then we’re going to hold that loop against the line in between those same two fingers. So, this is what it looks like.
We’re going to take the tag end and we’re going to go down behind and through the big loop and then back up and we’re going to keep twisting that around like that five different times. So, we’re going to take the tag end and begin to loop it. One, two, three, four and five. And, when you’re done, the tag end will be sticking up right here.
Now, you can just take that tag end while you’re still holding the line against the eyelet and begin to pull on that tag end. And, you’ll see that knot begin to cinch up in the middle of the line.
Now, you can let go of the tag end, grab the long end. Hold onto the lure and just pull. And, you’ll see that knot cinch down on the eyelet of the lure, or the hook in your case. We’re going to take our snips and snip there.
Now, you’ve got a really strong, very versatile uni knot. And, this knot is great, as I said, for many fishing scenarios. You can use it for line to leader combinations as well. There’s many different uses for that.
Bow hunting is a fun and adventurous way to hunt wild game. Many who have experienced success at it will tell you that there’s nothing quite like it.
Whether you are looking for information on bow hunting for beginners or even a seasoned veteran, we hope to provide you with helpful bow hunting tips to help you in your quest to become a better bow hunter.
Check out the FIVE archery video tips below to get valuable information on how you can be sure you have an arrow that’s “Just Pass’N Through!”
Bow Hunting Tips: #1 – Bow Maintenance | Avoid Freak Accidents Like This One…
When you see this freak archery accident, you’ll want to learn what you can do to help prevent the possibility of it ever happening to you.
Bow hunting is more than just flinging arrows. bow maintenance checks in the off-season, as well as before your hunt, are an extremely important part of being sure you are able to bow hunt safely and avoiding injury.
In the first of our bow hunting tips, we’ve got details on how to do preventative bow maintenance, so you can avoid unnecessary accidents like this one when shooting your bow…
A freak archery accident caught on film, and what you can do to help prevent it from happening to you. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.
Archery Accidents And How To Avoid Them
Today we take a look at some incredible slow motion footage submitted to us by Ty Eubanks, who experienced a broken bow cable during a recent film shoot.
While we’re certainly thankful Ty was not hurt, it does provide us an opportunity to go over some simple safety checks that can be done to help you have the best chance at safe shooting during practice, as well as during the hunt.
Now, I know some of you are shooting your bow year round, but some of you put it into storage during the off season and because the temperatures can change in those environments, it’s very important to check bowstrings cables as well as your limbs before shooting.
Bow maintenance checklist [Before You Shoot]
Be sure before every shoot that you check your strings and your cables for any signs of wear or fraying. Anything like that can be a potential for a broken string or cable during a hunt just like in the video we’ve shown.
Be sure you check your limbs very carefully. You want to be sure there’s no signs of splintering, bubbling, or cracking.
As we said, extreme temperatures and sometimes even storage can cause these things to weaken limbs. And, you don’t want to have one of those limbs be damaged or break during a shoot.
You also want to be sure all your screws and any bolts are tightened properly, so that you don’t have any of your accessories loose during a shoot.
It’s also a good idea to check your cams. Be sure you don’t have any nics or cuts that would affect your string in any way, whether it be to cause a fraying or a cutting of the string, or else damage to a cam, where your string may actually even come off the track.
There are also several other things you can check, such as rest alignment and cam rotation. You want to make sure that you get the proper arrow spine for your bow set up. Those things we recommend you take to your local bow shop and have them look for you and inspect that, so that you can have the best chance of a safe shoot.
Thanks again to Ty for submitting his video. We also want to say thanks to Centershot Specialties in Anderson, South Carolina for their input on this video. We hope you have a great week and remember… “where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there.” We’ll see you next time.
Pre-Shoot Checklist For Your Bow:
Check bow string and cables for any signs of wear or fraying
Check bow limbs for any signs of bubbling, splintering or cracking
Be sure all screws and nuts on your bow are tightened. (Replace any rusty ones.)
Be sure your bow cams are free from any type of nics or cuts that could wear out or break your bow string.
Check your cam rotation, ensuring that it is smooth and not warped.
Be sure your arrow rest is aligned properly
It’s always a good idea to let your local bow shop to inspect your bow as well.
Thank you Cole and Mike, and thank you for joining us for this edition of the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute. If you’d like to view other hunting and fishing tip videos, you can visit our website at N1outdoors.com and click on the videos section. The whole library is there. You can also pick up N1 Outdoors apparel and also, now, you can participate in hunting and fishing and outdoors forums on our website, N1outdoors.com
We hope you have a great week, and remember, where the moments happen… we’ll meet you there! We’ll see you next time.
Tip #3 – Aim Small Miss Small [Improve Your Accuracy]
In the third of our bow hunting tips videos, 3D archery tournament shooter, Cole Honstead, shows you a “small” tip that could help you BIG during hunting season! (hint: Aim small miss small!)
This small tip could help you big this coming turkey season. Stick with us for the in N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.
Today we go back out to Colorado to Cole Honstead with another tip help you become a better bow hunter.
I’m Cole Honstead with the N1 Outdoors archery tips. First tip of the New Year is something commonly heard in archery… “aim small, miss small.” And with turkey season right around the corner, we’re about to put that to use.
Thanks again to Cole Honstead with another great tip. If you’d like to see more of these tips, you can visit N1 Outdoors.com and click on the videos section. And while you’re there on our website, be sure to check out our brand new shirt designs, because we’ve got some things you’re really going to like. Also connect with us on social media; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
We hope you have a great week and remember, “Where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there”. We’ll see you next time.
Tip #4 – Hunting Stances Can Make Or Break A Bow Hunt [So, Know Them All!]
In the below N1 Minute archery tips video, learn about various stances that can help you in all types of bow hunting scenarios.
(Archery Stances video transcript)
How to be ready for every bow hunting scenario. Stick with us for the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute.
For those of you who have bow hunted any amount of time, you know that some things can happen during a hunt that simple target practice can’t prepare you for. Today we go back out to Colorado to Cole Honstead, who has some archery tips to help you be best prepared when your moment of truth comes.
Archery Stances For Bow Hunting
I’m Cole Honstead with the N1 Outdoors archery tip. Today’s tip is practicing hunting stances. These can be used for everything from spot and stalk hunts in the West to using blinds and tree stands in the east.
For tree stand hunting, try your best to get to the elevated position. This is as simple as finding the hill and using the bed of a pick-up.
For spot and stalk hunts, try practicing using incline and decline slopes. When shooting from a blind, you’d better get used to sitting in a chair or kneeling position.
Practicing these stances throughout the off season will give you that confidence for a shot of a lifetime.
Thank you for joining us for this edition of the N1 Outdoors N1 Minute and thanks again to Cole Honstead for the archery tips. Be sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and go by and visit N1outdoors.com. We hope you have a great week and remember “where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there”. We’ll see you next time.
Tip #5: Off-Season Bow Practice [You’ll Hunt Like You Practice]
In this N1 Minute, learn some bow hunting tips on how to to keep your archery skills polished and sharp during the off-season so that you can maintain proper archery form.
You know for us bow hunters, this is the time of year that we practice and practice for. But what about when the season’s over? How do you keep your skills sharp? Today we go out to Colorado to hear from 3D Tournament shooter Cole Honstead, with a simple tip to help you do just that.
I’m Cole Honstead with your 3D archery tips. Here’s a simple tip to keep those muscles active after hunting season and all it takes is a simple exercise band.
So many hunters put away their bows, after the fall, through winter, until turkey season. With, one of these exercise bands, you can practice your draw cycle throughout the winter and make that first draw in the spring a little easier.
Simply grasp one end of the band with your front hand and with your drawing hand, pull the band back to your anchor point. Repeat this ten to fifteen times and then switch hands. This will work both your back and shoulders. A few sets of this draw cycle exercise a day, and you’ll be ready to hit the mark on your next 3D shoot or Spring turkey hunt.
Thank you again to Cole for sharing that archery tip with the N1 Outdoors audience. If you’d like to check out our apparel, you can do that at N1outdoors.com.
We hope you have a great week and remember, “Where the moments happen, we’ll meet you there”. We’ll see you next time.