Getting to be that Time of Year

By Chris Berens, D&DH Intern

Bucks search for does throughout the early stages of the rut

We all talk about it, read about it and dream about this most anticipated part of the white-tailed deer hunting season. The rut. It stands to good reason too as it can be the best time to be in the woods because of the thrilling boost in deer activity. Barrel-chested bucks are cruising the woods during daylight, often ignoring their usual wary nature in the drive to show-up the competition and procreate. More bruiser bucks are taken during this chaotic period than at any other time of the season.

History has proven that the rut occurs around the same time each year with some variation and a few exceptions. Exactly when each doe will go into estrus and be ready for breeding is determined by two major factors. A doe’s gestation must be aligned so the fawn is born with ample time to grow strong enough to survive its first winter. This is not as crucial in warmer southern areas of the whitetail’s range, though it still plays a role in the cycle.

The 180-200 days prior to the birth of fawns is obviously the breeding phase of the rut, but the catalyst for the start of rutting activity prior to breeding is linked to the decreasing amount of daylight, the moon phase and the deer’s hormonal reaction to those settings. Any of a myriad of factors can affect how the rut phases play out including population density, weather, buck-to-doe ratio, hunting pressure and northern or southern regional location. Without a doubt, pinpointing when the rut phases occur in any area will help to maximize days in the field and tremendously increase the odds of tagging a monster whitetail each fall.

Consider the 2011 and 2012 Deer & Deer Hunting Whitetail Calendars to make the most or your hunting seasons. They are loaded with an exclusive rut predictor based on years of proven research and observation. Rut phases for the North and South regions of the whitetail’s range, deer activity periods, lunar data and dynamic full-size color photos are all included in these calendars that are a perfect reference for any whitetail hunter.