Many people are not aware that, in rare cases, Whitetail and mule deer can have upper canine teeth.
This is not to be confused with the Musk Deer that is known for its giant fang-like teeth. Deer have been documented from South America to Saskatchewan with upper canines. They are generally less than one-half inch, and many times will not break the gum line. The current authority for white-tailed deer information and references is Biology and Management of White-tailed Deer, edited by Dr. David Hewitt. This book does a great job explaining upper canines in whitetail deer.
We do not have many studies on the upper canine teeth, and it is not clear why this occurs. Some speculate that it is an old evolutionary trait that still pops up occasionally. The percentage of deer with these teeth varies based on the limited studies that have been done. Upper canines were found in 25 of 18,000 deer examined by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, in zero of about 10,000 deer inspected by the Wisconsin Conservation Department, in 4 of 166 deer from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in 1 of 134 deer from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, and 4 of 95 deer from Florida. It does seem to be more common the farther South you get becoming most common in South America.
Here are some pictures of this rare find.