If you’ve got a deer hunter in your life, chances are you’ve heard the term “rut” before. If you ARE a deer hunter, we are sure you already know. However, here are some things you may not know about the rut season.
The Rut is a word for deer breeding season, not just the peak. The term rut is referring to the behaviors, tendencies, and activities associated with breeding season and can be actually divided into a few different phases.
Rut doesn’t begin because of temperatures and/or photo period. One misunderstanding is that the rut revolves around temperatures and daylight. Deer are short-day breeders. So dwindling daylight signals to them that it’s time for breeding season. Once the days get shorter, regardless of temp, the doe come in estrus and the bucks go hunting for a mate.
Buck rubs are not just to get rid of velvet. Buck antlers start out with a fuzzy velvet coating that is lost as testosterone levels rise and daylight decreases. It may seem like they begin to rub trees to help their velvet come off, but rubbing the way to spread scent, and some scientists think it also allows deer to visually communicate. Rubbing continues through the rut and is usually made by a buck rubbing his antlers or forehead on a tree.
Deer may also chew or lick branches to spread scent.
Scrapes are different than rubs. Bucks will paw at a piece of ground to bare soil and will urinate on that spot. This is also a communication piece, primarily putting out the message that I’m looking for a mate, and the other bucks should steer clear of my territory.
Does breed once they reach a certain weight. You might think that breeding has to do with age, but that’s not necessarily the case. Does breed once they’ve reached 70-80lbs.
First signs of the rut are sparring bucks. As testosterone levels in bucks rise, they will begin to spar or fight. They may look like a shoving match early in rut, or they may look like a serious antler grudge match the closer to full rut they get.