That is cool.
Is the mulefoot thing something that is more prevalent in certain areas? Kind of like melanistic coyotes? There are some places melanistic coyotes are found fairly regularly, and other places (like up here where I am at), almost never.
Here is a short vid I put together sometime back...
It is a genetic mutation that is hereditary. It used to be considered a defect and many farmers would kill a mulefooted piglet. Then farmers realized that mulefooted hogs were less apt to get hoof rot and it became desirable. In the late 1800s to early 1900s, mulefoots were regularly bred and became a noted breed of hog that was relished for their high quality of meat. Then the beef industry seemed to take off and the mulefoot industry went into decline. Now, it is considered a relic or heritage breed.
There are feral mulefooted found in numerous places in Texas. I suspect that there are a lot more killed that go unrecognized because hunters don't bother to look at the feet or aren't even familiar with the condition to recognize it if they were to see it.
In looking at some of the historic breeding records, mulefoots were bred in many areas of Texas, sometimes as whole herds (breeders) or as individuals introduced into non-mulefoot breeds to improve the local hogs with the infusion of mulefoot genetic material. I know that mulefoot hogs were sold to ranches in north Texas, but I haven't found records of any actual breeders in Montague County where I hunt, but I would not be surprised if there was one or more. Not all swine trading was on the books, right?
Interesting. I've never seen one where I hunt. I guess no one around here ever raised them.
While they were bred on numerous ranches (recorded) in Texas and escapes or turnouts would contribute to a local population, this condition does occur naturally, though rarely. Again, I think most people just miss seeing the trait, not that it is common, but it really doesn't stand out unless you are looking for it.
The first one I killed was on a 220 lb boar. We spent a bunch of time trying to find the bullet hole in the boar and hauled him up to the house. There was something odd about the boar, but I could not put my finger on what it was until we were finished up with pictures and it dawned on me that its feet looked different. I had read about this trait and the recognized it for what it was. The landowner, long time hunter himself, had never seen or heard of such a thing.
I killed a mule deer out west of Kermit that had elongated hooves.
This is not related in any way. Elongated hooves in deer are not genetic, but due to a diet high in energy foods. Chances are your buck was eating a lot of supplements, such as hunters may do in hopes of producing bigger racks.