The Rut

The rut is the mating or estrous time period for whitetail deer. This period usually last 2 to 3 weeks. Deer mate sometime in the later portions of the year so there offspring will be born during the spring time. In the spring time new green growth is abundant and the weather is starting to warm up. This makes survival for the young deer much easier. The rut is triggered in the fall when the daylight hours start shortening and the nights get longer. A doe can stay in estrous up to 72 hours. If the doe is not breed during their first estrous period she will keep coming into estrous up to 6 or 7 times until she is breed. Though I believe it is rare, in areas where doe populations are high, a doe may go through the entire mating season without being breed. Depending upon what area you live in will determine what time frame you will notice rut activity. In most northern states rut activity can began as early as late September and early October. In the southern states and the states in the northwest of the U.S. rut activity will usually start later in the year around the months of November and December.

During the rut deer are more active and generally less cautious than usual. It is during this time that deer become more susceptible to deer hunters and motorists. Deer sightings and vehicle accidents involving deer are always higher in these winter months surrounding the rut.

The time period surrounding the rut is an exciting time period for deer hunters. Those wallhangers that never move about in the daylight hours are now letting there hormones do the walking. Its the period of time before the rut that hunters call “The Chase” that I enjoy hunting the most. A buck will constantly be on the move searching for a doe in estrous. At times does will even play hard to get and lead bucks on a wild goose chase before allowing them to mate. At each doe sighting you have the chance to catch that trailing buck. Stay ready and alert. Your next mature buck may just be coming around the bend.