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.

rubz

Rubs: The Whitetail’s Communication Hub

Humans learn by seeing. Deer do, too. When a hunter comes upon a big rub, his heart skips a beat. When a whitetail buck encounters a rub of any size, it has different thoughts. Our excitement has to do with hunting possibilities. A buck’s has to do with identifying who made the rub, because...

postrutman

Whitetail Post-Rut Enemy No. 1: Man

In addition to being worn out and hungry, a whitetail has another thing that keeps him from moving about when the post-rut arrives: the constant presence of man. The hunting pressure incurred during September, October and November causes many bucks to become nocturnal. By Charles J. Alsheimer, Deer & Deer Hunting contributor In the...

afterrut

After the Frenzy: Whitetail Bucks in Post-Rut Mode

By the time a buck makes it through November’s breeding ordeal and inches into the post-rut period, he’s a far cry from the muscular rutting machine he was when the rut was cranking. By Charles J. Alsheimer, Deer & Deer Hunting contributor A whitetail buck in the post-rut is typically 20 to 25 percent...

southrut

The Southern Whitetail Rut: Um, When Is That Again?

Throughout much of the whitetail’s range, the rut is fairly synchronous , occurring roughly about early to mid-November. As you move south, things change — sometimes dramatically. There are numerous mitigating factors, including climate, genetics, nutrition, sex ratio and radically different day lengths. By Bob Humphrey, Deer & Deer Hunting contributor One of the...

doefawnrut

Why Whitetail Fawns Rule (The Second Rut, That Is)

This past week, we looked at the many fallacies of the second rut. Today, we’ll discuss the true foundation of the second rut: doe fawns. Surprisingly, many doe fawns can breed before their first birthday. According to Deer & Deer Hunting’s John J. Ozoga, the key to doe fawns achieving estrus is tied to...

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...

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...