A lucky bowhunter just shot what may be the first ever mule deer killed in Wisconsin, which is far outside the normal range for Rocky Mountain mule deer.
Randy Haines, a bowhunter from Wisconsin, recently arrowed this buck, which may be the first recorded mule deer killed in Wisconsin. He was hunting near his hometown of Amery in the northwest portion of the state when he encountered the deer.
Mr. Haines has contacted the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and while they are going to do some research and run some tests on the deer, their initial assessment is that this indeed the first mule deer killed in Wisconsin that they are aware of.
A relative of Mr. Haines was deer hunting in the same area and spotted the mule deer shortly before Randy Haines ended up shooting it. He took the photographs below from his deer stand using his cell phone. As you can see, the deer has the unique white rump of a mule deer.
The mule deer did not have an ear tag or collar that would indicate that it was raised on a farm and the Wisconsin DNR has stated that they are not aware of any farm raised mule deer in the area. While mule deer are occasional visitors to the state of Minnesota, the closest free ranging population of mule deer to Amery, Wisconsin is in South Dakota. Unless that mule deer had escaped from a deer farm that the Wisconsin DNR didn’t know about or was some other type of transplant, it made quite a hike!
And just in case you were wondering, this was a 100% legal hunt. Mule deer are not a protected species in Wisconsin and the state does not differentiate between whitetail and mule deer in the hunting regulations. A “buck deer” is defined as a deer with at least one antler which is three inches or longer in length, which makes this a legal kill.
Congratulations Mr. Haines on taking such a rare and unique species in Wisconsin!
I’m no expert, but that sure looks like a mule deer to me! What do you think? Is that a mule deer, or some sort of mule deer/whitetail hybrid?