collapse

Advertisement


Author Topic: Hybrid deer  (Read 1144 times)

Offline Maybach Outdoors

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Pilgrim
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 45
  • Location: Seattle
Hybrid deer
« on: July 05, 2020, 08:48:17 AM »
Hey folks,

I was in the backcountry the last two days and saw several black tail deer one or two miles east of the PCT. From my understanding it is pretty common for the mule deer and blacktail to mix around this region... I was just wondering if anyone had any good pictures of "hybrid" bucks/deer from these mixing zones. Has there been any research in other areas of the country where this happens? Do the deer change their natural habits of the traditional species? Would deer in this region migrate downwards west or east? Tough questions haha educate me!

M

Offline fishnfur

  • Non-Hunting & Covid-19 Topics
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Frontiersman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 3330
  • Location: longview
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2020, 10:46:48 PM »
Great topic!  The hybrids are locally known as Benchleg Deer, apparently due to the appearance of the deer often having short legs for the size of the body, some weird combination of the two species mixed appearances. 

For general purposes, if the deer is west of the Cascade Crest, then it is considered a BT.  Mule Deer to the East of the Crest.  In reality, you've seen that the deer do not necessarily honor that arbitrary boundary.  Also, the presence of a black tail on a Black Tailed Deer nor the typical black tipped pendulous tail of a Muley indicate the level of hybridization you are observing.  The rack on a buck often gives an indication of hybridization while also considering the type of tail the animal has, but that can be extremely variable as well. 

Many of the hunters here have a lot of field knowledge, mine understanding is book knowledge and urban legend. 

But,.....since you asked, hybridization is generally possible for many of our species that became separate species due to geographic isolation.  If the two species then are given the opportunity to mix or are no longer geographically isolated, they will often interbreed.  Rainbow and Cutthroat trout are another example of this type of hybridization.  All three types of deer in N. America can hybridized between species, though the offspring of MT and Muleys apparently can't survive too well  The different escape gates used by each species somehow yields offspring that are ineffective at running away from predators.   There is a lot of hybridization information on Scholar.Google.com.  Just pick two species and see what's out there to read.

This is one article that really fried my brain: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jim_Heffelfinger/publication/51782929_Hybrid_swarm_between_divergent_lineages_of_mule_deer_Odocoileus_hemionus/links/5a33f7520f7e9b10d8429aee/Hybrid-swarm-between-divergent-lineages-of-mule-deer-Odocoileus-hemionus.pdf
 
It is a very complex study and required that I review a lot of genetics and phylogeny/population genetics to make much sense out of.  (Phylogeny, the history of the evolution of a species or group, especially in reference to lines of descent and relationships among broad groups of organisms.)   Most of this knowledge is not necessary to understand the ramifications of the study, which are quickly understood by reviewing the map on or about page six of the paper.  You can immediately see that hybrids extend well beyond the proximity of the Crest of the Cascades on both sides.  Some of those monster racks you see on the occasional Westside BT are probably the result of hybridization!  The Coastal BT in pure genetic forms very rarely reaches massive antler proportions, (but it does happen).  In he areas known for trophy BTs such as outside Eugene/Springfield OR, where our two favorite BT authors (Hougan and Iverson) hunted successfully for massive bucks, it comes as no great surprise that the map in this study indicates that area has significant hybridization in the samples they studied.  Boone and Crockett/Pope and Young BT entries that may be new records are now checked genetically to ensure they are not hybrids (to my knowledge). 

Anyways, that should get your head spinning.  Phylogeny of North American Deer is fascinating - there are a lot of good studies if you like reading this type of material.  The role of glaciation in the ice ages and how it affected the distribution of N. American deer is also a good read.

Have fun!

Edit:  I remember last year, a member named "in em" posted some awesome pics of BT bucks taken in the vicinity of the Cascade Crest.  Though they had BT tails, they had massive Mule Deer antlers.  In my mind, those are the pics you want to see.  I tried to find them, but the search function (as well as the "Preview" function) are not working correctly.  I'll let you pursue that lead....
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 11:09:09 PM by fishnfur »
“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers

Offline Maybach Outdoors

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Pilgrim
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 45
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2020, 11:09:24 PM »
Great topic!  The hybrids are locally known as Benchleg Deer, apparently due to the appearance of the deer often having short legs for the size of the body, some weird combination of the two species mixed appearances. 

For general purposes, if the deer is west of the Cascade Crest, then it is considered a BT.  Mule Deer to the East of the Crest.  In reality, you've seen that the deer do not necessarily honor that arbitrary boundary.  Also, the presence of a black tail on a Black Tailed Deer nor the typical black tipped pendulous tail of a Muley indicate the level of hybridization you are observing.  The rack on a buck often gives an indication of hybridization while also considering the type of tail the animal has, but that can be extremely variable as well. 

Many of the hunters here have a lot of field knowledge, mine understanding is book knowledge and urban legend. 

But,.....since you asked, hybridization is generally possible for many of our species that became separate species due to geographic isolation.  If the two species then are given the opportunity to mix or are no longer geographically isolated, they will often interbreed.  Rainbow and Cutthroat trout are another example of this type of hybridization.  All three types of deer in N. America can hybridized between species, though the offspring of MT and Muleys apparently can't survive too well  The different escape gates used by each species somehow yields offspring that are ineffective at running away from predators.   There is a lot of hybridization information on Scholar.Google.com.  Just pick two species and see what's out there to read.

This is one article that really fried my brain: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jim_Heffelfinger/publication/51782929_Hybrid_swarm_between_divergent_lineages_of_mule_deer_Odocoileus_hemionus/links/5a33f7520f7e9b10d8429aee/Hybrid-swarm-between-divergent-lineages-of-mule-deer-Odocoileus-hemionus.pdf
 
It is a very complex study and required that I review a lot of genetics and phylogeny/population genetics to make much sense out of.  (Phylogeny, the history of the evolution of a species or group, especially in reference to lines of descent and relationships among broad groups of organisms.)   Most of this knowledge is not necessary to understand the ramifications of the study, which are quickly understood by reviewing the map on or about page six of the paper.  You can immediately see that hybrids extend well beyond the proximity of the Crest of the Cascades on both sides.  Some of those monster racks you see on the occasional Westside BT are probably the result of hybridization!  The Coastal BT in pure genetic forms very rarely reaches massive antler proportions, (but it does happen).  In he areas known for trophy BTs such as outside Eugene/Springfield OR, where our two favorite BT authors (Hougan and Iverson) hunted successfully for massive bucks, it comes as no great surprise that the map in this study indicates that area has significant hybridization in the samples they studied.  Boone and Crockett/Pope and Young BT entries that may be new records are now checked genetically to ensure they are not hybrids (to my knowledge). 

Anyways, that should get your head spinning.  Phylogeny of North American Deer is fascinating - there are a lot of good studies if you like reading this type of material.  The role of glaciation in the ice ages and how it affected the distribution of N. American deer is also a good read.

Have fun!

Oh man this is awesome! I’ll have to read into it some more... love it when there are actual studies to examine rather than word of mouth stuff (although that can be important too). Appreciate the info

Offline Skyvalhunter

  • Washington For Wildlife
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Oct 2007
  • Posts: 13692
  • Location: The valley
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2020, 06:07:33 AM »
Are you talking the Snoqualmie pass area?

Offline Maybach Outdoors

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Pilgrim
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 45
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2020, 07:54:29 AM »
Are you talking the Snoqualmie pass area?

Nope. I saw the blacktail near Steven's pass.

Offline Mtnwalker

  • Political Topics
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Longhunter
  • *****
  • Join Date: Aug 2015
  • Posts: 665
  • Location: Selah
  • Groups: NRA RMEF MDF
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2020, 08:31:48 AM »
The buck in my avatar was killed 20 miles east of PCT, it had a good amount of blacktail characteristics and a full black tail. Fairly common I think

Offline pianoman9701

  • Mushroom Man
  • Political Topics
  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • Legend
  • ******
  • Join Date: Mar 2011
  • Posts: 32322
  • Location: Vancouver USA
  • NRA Life, MH, WFW, NAGR, RMEF, WSB, NMLS #2014743
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2020, 08:47:19 AM »
@runamuk

 :chuckle:  :peep:
"Restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens based on the actions of criminals and madmen will have no positive effect on the future acts of criminals and madmen. It will only serve to reduce individual rights and the very security of our republic." - Pianoman

Offline TriggerMike

  • Non-Hunting & Covid-19 Topics
  • Trade Count: (+2)
  • Sourdough
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2014
  • Posts: 1256
  • Location: Central WA
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2020, 08:50:15 AM »
I've seen mule deer 5-10 miles West of the PCT before.

Offline Skyvalhunter

  • Washington For Wildlife
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Explorer
  • ******
  • Join Date: Oct 2007
  • Posts: 13692
  • Location: The valley
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2020, 08:52:30 AM »
I've seen mule deer 13-17 miles East of the PCT.

Offline Maybach Outdoors

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Pilgrim
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2019
  • Posts: 45
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2020, 11:38:26 AM »
I've seen mule deer 13-17 miles East of the PCT.

I can’t return your PM your message box is full!

Offline fishnfur

  • Non-Hunting & Covid-19 Topics
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Frontiersman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 3330
  • Location: longview
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2020, 03:21:25 PM »
All those sightings are exactly my point, though perhaps I didn't say it clear enough. 

Genotype describes the genetic makeup of the animal and how pure or hybrid it may be based on the number of genes in it's genome that don't belong to the specific species in question.  Since the offspring's genes come from both parents, it will have half of it's genes from the mother and half from the father.  If they were of pure strains of different species, then the fawn will be 50/50 MD and BT.  A mating of that animal with another genetically pure animal produces a hybrid with a different genetic mix  than the hybrid parent(H2 on the map in that study if memory serves).

Phenotype is the outward appearance of the animal in question - it is the expression of the active or dominant genes used in the animal. It may show outward signs of being a pure  BT, a pure Mule Deer, or sometimes a mix of both.  That outward appearance has little relationship to the genotype of the animal (whether or not is is genetically a hybrid).  Seeing an animal 20 miles east of the Crest of the Cascades that appears (phenotype) to be a massive BT does not genetically make the animal a BT.  It is most likely a hybrid(Benchleg in the case of BT) based on it's geographic location being inside the hybridization zone. 

Hybrid BTs often make a hell of a trophy on the wall and are impressive animals in the wild, but they are not true Blacktails.  That doesn't seem to matter to the animals when they mate.  I don't understand why hunters often get mad if you suggest the animal they killed was a hybrid. (?)  If the animal was impressive enough to make the hunter decide to harvest it, that should be enough.  A good kill and a trophy just the same.
“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers

Offline scoutdog346

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Scout
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2014
  • Posts: 417
  • Location: tacoma
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2020, 04:52:43 AM »
There is now way to tell unless u get it tested so I treat it like there is No such thing as a  High bred mule deer and black tail anywhere close to the Pacific crest trail 20 miles each way. Just cuz it has a small tail or a big one means nothing as there r way too many factors going into it and  Antler or body size and shape mean absolutely nothing. (phenotype/genotype factor. Quality of Genetic expression/food  Availability ect...)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2020, 05:00:02 AM by scoutdog346 »

Offline fishnfur

  • Non-Hunting & Covid-19 Topics
  • Trade Count: (0)
  • Frontiersman
  • *****
  • Join Date: Nov 2014
  • Posts: 3330
  • Location: longview
Re: Hybrid deer
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2020, 12:01:43 AM »
Exactly my point. .... it doesn't really matter.  I'm a hybrid of English, Spanish, and Scandinavian - I'm still a person but I live in WA, not Europe.  Similarly, these hybrids are still deer, but it' not a "true" (or pure) MD or a BT just because of where it was killed or the color and size of it's tail.  But when it comes to record keeping, apparently it counts.  i think we'll see more on this in the future.....
“When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.”  - Will Rogers

 


* Advertisement

* Recent Topics

ISO: single shot 20 gauge by Irishbackwoods
[Today at 02:00:23 AM]


Iso remington model seven by bankwalker
[Today at 01:15:44 AM]


Weyerhaeuser fire season by The Gobble-stopper
[Today at 12:49:05 AM]


Margaret cow tag help.... by kentrek
[Today at 12:23:17 AM]


WTS - Glock Adjustable Night Sights - Meoprolight by Cylvertip
[Yesterday at 11:30:39 PM]


WTS Aimpoint PRO & Vortex 3x magnifier by davef
[Yesterday at 11:09:44 PM]


WTS M1A Mags by davef
[Yesterday at 11:02:29 PM]


WTS 17WSM AMMO by davef
[Yesterday at 10:53:35 PM]


WTS 22 TCM AMMO 383 ROUNDS by davef
[Yesterday at 10:47:19 PM]


Who's hunted Green River 485? by Rookie24
[Yesterday at 10:39:10 PM]


Fly Tier Looking for Hunting Buddies by dreamingbig
[Yesterday at 10:38:46 PM]


Cabela's Alaknak 12-ft. x 12-ft. Tent by Blacktailaddict
[Yesterday at 10:32:50 PM]


north chelan goat and licoln cliff sheep tag holders contact me by grade-creek-rd
[Yesterday at 10:08:56 PM]


For Sale Beretta 92FS by Spuddieselwwu
[Yesterday at 09:36:25 PM]


257wby vs coyote Not the way to get ahead in life by Oldguy
[Yesterday at 09:34:40 PM]


Firstlite grizzly gloves by brocka
[Yesterday at 09:31:19 PM]


Economical training collar with continuous vibrate. by lamrith
[Yesterday at 09:29:41 PM]


Sw wa Turkey help. by bobcat
[Yesterday at 09:25:02 PM]


Montana Alternates list by tikkahunter
[Yesterday at 09:17:41 PM]


2020 bears by mountainman
[Yesterday at 09:08:48 PM]