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.

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...

signposts

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 as...

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...

light

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...

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...

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...

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...