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Did you know that more than 15 million people hold deer hunting licenses in the United States of America as of 2022? Hunting is a huge part of the human experience and human existence on Earth, and hunting deer is one of the most popular forms of hunting in North America. Knowing the deer types is key if you have an interest in learning more about deer antler genetics.
Many hunters prize hunting for and bagging the best deer possible during each hunting season. The bigger the rack, the bigger the trophy when it comes to hunting deer. That said, there are a ton of myths out there surrounding deer antler genetics that require getting the record set straight.
Luckily, you’re in the perfect spot to learn more about the many deer species and the facts behind deer antlers. Keep reading this article to learn more today!
Myths About Deer Antler Genetics
The biggest theory that hunters use to support the idea that you can manipulate deer antler genetics is the idea of selective culling on their lands. This process involves killing the deer that are considered to have inferior genetics due to the size of their antlers. Many hunters jumped on this theory and started killing the bucks that had “inferior” features and smaller racks while letting the big bucks live.
The fact of the matter is that deer antlers play a huge role in the hunting community when it comes to getting the perfect buck. Add in the growing deer antler velvet community and it leads to people trying to manipulate nature.
A big myth surrounding deer antler genetics is the thought that humans can outwit Mother Nature. Natural selection is the key factor that decides which traits die and which ones get passed on. The strongest deer types tend to survive and pass their genetics on.
The idea of manipulating deer DNA to get bigger antlers is laughable. DNA is too complex for modern science to change the size of deer antlers. This lack of knowledge when it comes to DNA science is what perpetuates the myth that you can give Mother Nature the runaround.
You also need to take the doe into account when it comes to deer antler genetics. Some of the antler genetics get passed down from the mother as well as the father. This is a big part of why selective culling doesn’t work if you’re aiming for bigger antlers.
Types of Deer in North America
Now that you have a better understanding of deer antler genetics, it’s time to take a look at the deer species that call North America home. If you have high hopes of becoming a big game hunter then it is essential to know the types of deer and head out during each season for hunting.
Here’s a closer look at the common deer species on the continent!
The whitetail deer is the most common deer species in North America, and it’s the one that most hunters go for. They range from 150 to 300 pounds when fully grown, and you can find them in the areas east of the Rocky Mountains as well as in Mexico.
The state that is home to the largest whitetail deer population is Texas, with more than four million deer residing here. As more land gets converted to agricultural use, whitetail deer are moving further north and into Canada.
You can identify the whitetail deer by its distinctive tail and rear end, which is white in color. They’re known to flick their tail when they see a predator, which is their defense mechanism to let the predator know that the attack has failed. You should also note that their fur changes color depending on the season as a form of natural camouflage to hide from those that are hunting deer.
The mule deer is another common deer species that is native to North America. These deer can grow up to 340 pounds at maturity, and they’re often called Blacktail Deer. The name “Mule Deer” comes from the large ears that this deer species has compared to other types of deer.
The most common place to find mule deer is in the western United States of America, especially on the West Coast and in the Southwest region of the country. The mating season for mule deer starts in the fall, with fawns coming into the world in the spring months.
Caribou dwarf their whitetail and blacktail cousins in size, with a maximum weight of 400 pounds. They’re often referred to as reindeer, and you can find them in Alaska, the Yukon Territory, and the Pacific Northwest. Look in the tundra if you have high hopes of hunting deer like caribou in the future.
One thing to keep in mind with deer antler genetics is the fact that male and female caribou both grow antlers. You can usually distinguish the two since male caribou tend to have larger antlers.
Elk can grow to a massive 700 pounds in size, and they’re one of the largest deer species in North America. The only species that is larger than the elk is the moose. Male elk have massive antlers that they shed each year, and these antlers have a big role to play in the mating process.
Elk also have a unique way of communicating since they bugle to each other. This form of communication allows them to be heard from up to 5 miles away!
Now You Know the Truth About Deer Antler Genetics
If you want to start getting the best deer on your property during hunting season then you need to ignore the idea of selective culling. Most types of deer get their antler genetics from both parents, and it’s best to let Mother Nature take her course with natural selection. It’s also important to remember that some deer types, like Caribou, have males and females with antlers.
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