Alsheimer: Bucks Begin to Recover After the Rut

Charles J. Alsheimer on Deer & Deer Hunting

Bucks are utterly exhausted now after chasing does and fighting off challengers for the last month. Food and rest are their main focuses now. (photo copyright Charles J. Alsheimer)

For all practical purposes the rut is over in the North. For the better part of the last 40 days, bucks have been on the march searching for does to breed. During that time they’ve devoted little attention to eating, causing them to lose up to 25 percent of their pre-rut body weight. Though breeding activity can occur well into January in the North, bucks literally crash from physical exhaustion when December arrives in the northern part of their range.

Check out this bonus D&DH TV video to learn more about late-season treestand tactics.   


When the November breeding period winds down bucks go into what I call recovery mode, which can last up to two weeks. Right now Northern bucks are bedded during most of the daytime hours. What little daytime movement there is will occur around midday and the last two hours of daylight. The bulk of feeding activity will come under the cover of darkness.

During their recovery time, bucks will bed close to primary food sources in locations where there is thick cover nearby to protect them from the elements as they try to recover from the rut and fuel up for the winter ahead.

– Charlie

Learn More Late-Season Tactics from Pat & Nicole Reeve

Trophy Whitetails with Pat & Nicole ReeveTrophy Whitetails with Pat and Nicole Reeve by Duncan Dobie takes a page out of the Driven TV stars’ book, guiding you through their history and making suggestions for effectively hunting trophy whitetails. As one of the most knowledgeable bowhunters in the industry, Pat has plenty of experience to pull from, including time as an expert videographer and renowned hunting celebrity and producer. Let Pat and Nicole’s journey guide your own as their stories help form hunting tips and advice for your own experiences.