Alsheimer: Bucks Still Rub After Breeding is Done

Bucks will still rub late season, though not nearly at their rut-time levels. (Photo copyright Charles J. Alsheimer)

Bucks will still rub late season, though not nearly at their rut-time levels. (Photo copyright Charles J. Alsheimer)

By the end of December northern bucks have pretty much lost interest in does, so their desire to breed is a thing of the past. One rutting behavior that is tough for bucks to turn off is rubbing. In spite of decreased testosterone levels bucks will make rubs until they cast their antlers. However, the number of rubs a buck makes will be a fraction of what he made in October and November.

When a buck settles into his wintering area his travels are confined to bedding and feeding locations. Consequently, any rubs he makes during this time will be in bedding areas or along travel routes used between bedding and feeding sites.

One of the chief reasons a buck continues to make rubs after the rut is over has to do with his desire to show dominance. By leaving scent from his nasal, preorbital and forehead glands on a rub a buck can influence the behavior of other bucks in his home territory.

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