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.

2ndrut

The Second Rut: More Fiction Than Fact?

The premise is simple: Buck-to-doe ratios are so woefully out of whack there’s no way all the does can be bred during peak breeding. It’s also understood that does not impregnated cycle back into estrus 23 to 30 days later. So if you wait the number of days in the does’ cycle past peek...

elevatedt

Elevated Testosterone: How it Fuels the Whitetail Rut, Part II

For more than five decades, I’ve been immersed in the whitetail’s world. Though I love photographing them every month of the year, nothing gets my whitetail juices flowing faster than thoughts of hunting or photographing during the rut. I find all aspects of their rutting behavior intriguing and energizing, and I feel blessed to...

testosterone

Testosterone: Jet Fuel for the Whitetail Rut

I’ve been interested in whitetail behavior for more than five decades. As a teenage hunter, I had many questions about why bucks and does do what they do and look the way they look at various times of year. As I progressed through life as a hunter, photographer and writer, many of those questions...

mockscrape

Signpost Secrets II: Revealing the Mysteries of Whitetail Scrapes

As I discussed in my previous “Whitetail Behavior” blog, white-tailed deer rely heavily on scent-marking at antler rubs and scrapes, commonly referred to as signposts, to communicate information of social significance, especially during the breeding season. There’s good evidence deer can communicate individual identity, dominance rank, physical condition, breeding status and other bits of...

signals

Chemical Signals: The Whitetail’s Communication Key

Popular hunting literature is filled with claims regarding the attractive powers of certain deer lures. “Estrous urine” lures, in particular, are advertised as being packed full of “hormones” and “pheromones,” reputed to be irresistible to a buck in rut. Just what is a so-called pheromone? And what do scientists have to say about this...

rulerut

Old Bucks Rule the Rut? Not So Fast

At seminars, I’m often asked which age class drives the rut’s intensity. My answer often surprises people, because most believe that it takes bucks 4½ or older to have a truly intense rut. Before sharing an opinion on this, let me offer some background and observations. By Charles J. Alsheimer, Deer & Deer Hunting...

Rubbehavior

Revealed! Secrets of Whitetail Rubbing Behavior

By Charles J. Alsheimer, Deer & Deer Hunting contributor Here’s what I’ve learned about the whitetail’s rubbing behavior from more than 50 years of hunting and photographing whitetails. Rubs Send a Message Humans learn by seeing. Deer do, too. When a hunter comes upon a big rub, his heart skips a beat. When a...

fawning

The Whitetail’s Secret Weapon: Birth Timing

By John J. Ozoga, Deer & Deer Hunting Contributor The whitetails’ reproductive cycle is geared to giving birth when conditions are best for newborn fawn survival. As you progress northward in the whitetail’s geographic range, a greater percentage of the fawns will be born during a relatively brief period in late May and early...

antlergrowth

The Whitetail’s Annual Miracle: Antler Casting and Regeneration

Editor’s note: Spring is a time of rebirth, and nothing illustrates that like the whitetail’s annual cycle of antler loss and regrowth. Here are some incredible insights into this process courtesy of Deer & Deer Hunting‘s John J. Ozoga. Antler Casting Although the timing of antler growth is quite synchronized by photoperiod, generally starting...