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The rut starts and stops when it's supposed to (mostly based on hormonal secretions that are released by signals from the deer's pituitary gland when the rays of the sun enter the deers' eyes at a certain angle). This is called a phototropic event. But once it gets started, it can be affected by other conditions. For example, one year here in Montana, I hunted in absolutely prime mule and whitetail deer country, the Custer National Forest, during the rut. We saw tracks everywhere in the snow, but actually saw very few deer. The temps were unusually warm that year - it was the middle of November, and the coldest temp that we saw was 54 degrees at about 5 am. It should have been in the teens at that time of year. Anyway, the bucks had to have been rutting, but they were doing it at night because of the "extreme" heat. I managed to get a 4x4 muley on the last day of the hunt.
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