Deer Behavior

Have you ever watched a deer from your stand and wondered, “Why do they do that?” Whitetails are fascinating creatures, and understanding the many facets of their behavior enhances this addicting pursuit. Learn all about deer behavior and biology from the top biologists in the country.

Why do they only show up at night?

Revealed: The Truth About Spotlight Deer Surveys

Hunters expect wildlife managers to determine how many deer there are in an area, and biologists strive to do so. Common approaches to examine deer population size and trends include harvest data reconstruction, pellet and track counts, and browse, camera, aerial, infrared and thermal-imaging surveys. By John J. Ozoga, Deer & Deer Hunting Contributor...

Tailtales

Did You Know? 8 Messages Deer Send With Their Tails

When you spot a deer, study its tail. What you observe will help you make smart hunting decisions. Of course, the deer’s body language is important to watch, too. It goes hand in hand in with what the tail is doing. By Tom Carpenter But the tail’s actions are a very visible, clear and...

Giant buck

Signpost Secrets: Probing the Mysteries of Whitetail Rubs

  Cervids (members of the deer family) living in open country, such as elk and mule deer, rely heavily upon visual displays and vocalizations when communicating information of social significance. In contrast, forest-dwelling white-tailed deer more commonly use glandular secretions and scent-marking, especially in conjunction with antler rubs and ground scrapes, commonly referred to...

noct

Nocturnal Whitetails: Why Big Bucks Go Dark

  You can’t kill a buck if you can’t encounter him during daylight. Of course, this isn’t always easy, as many deer — especially older bucks — seem to turn to the dark side when hunting season opens. Here’s an expert’s insight into what drives nocturnal behavior. By Charles Alsheimer, Deer & Deer Hunting...

response

Dialing Up Big Whitetails: Rattling Response Varies

In experiments, buck response to rattling was greatest during the rut and lowest during pre-rut. However, seasonal response rates varied according to buck age. By the Deer & Deer Hunting staff Young bucks (1½ to 2½ years) were more responsive to rattling during the pre-rut period, whereas middle-aged bucks (3½ and 4½ years) more...

rubz

Rubs: The Whitetail’s Communication Hub

Humans learn by seeing. Deer do, too. When a hunter comes upon a big rub, his heart skips a beat. When a whitetail buck encounters a rub of any size, it has different thoughts. Our excitement has to do with hunting possibilities. A buck’s has to do with identifying who made the rub, because...

postrutman

Whitetail Post-Rut Enemy No. 1: Man

In addition to being worn out and hungry, a whitetail has another thing that keeps him from moving about when the post-rut arrives: the constant presence of man. The hunting pressure incurred during September, October and November causes many bucks to become nocturnal. By Charles J. Alsheimer, Deer & Deer Hunting contributor In the...

afterrut

After the Frenzy: Whitetail Bucks in Post-Rut Mode

By the time a buck makes it through November’s breeding ordeal and inches into the post-rut period, he’s a far cry from the muscular rutting machine he was when the rut was cranking. By Charles J. Alsheimer, Deer & Deer Hunting contributor A whitetail buck in the post-rut is typically 20 to 25 percent...

southrut

The Southern Whitetail Rut: Um, When Is That Again?

Throughout much of the whitetail’s range, the rut is fairly synchronous , occurring roughly about early to mid-November. As you move south, things change — sometimes dramatically. There are numerous mitigating factors, including climate, genetics, nutrition, sex ratio and radically different day lengths. By Bob Humphrey, Deer & Deer Hunting contributor One of the...

doefawnrut

Why Whitetail Fawns Rule (The Second Rut, That Is)

This past week, we looked at the many fallacies of the second rut. Today, we’ll discuss the true foundation of the second rut: doe fawns. Surprisingly, many doe fawns can breed before their first birthday. According to Deer & Deer Hunting’s John J. Ozoga, the key to doe fawns achieving estrus is tied to...