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.

Hermaphrodite

Whitetail Freaks Part 2: Hermaphrodites

Here is another bizarre instance of a buck’s genetic wiring gone awry. This lucky hunter shot a truly once-in-a-lifetime deer, but what is it? That’s a good question; one that we can only speculate on when trying to answer it. The photo has been all over the Web, and was recently posted on Facebook...

White-tailed deer use their incredible sense of smell to determine what's around them.

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...

Why do they only show up at night?

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...

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...

Giant buck

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...

response

Dialing Up Big Whitetails: Rattling Response Varies

In experiments, buck response to rattling was greatest during the rut and lowest during pre-rut. However, seasonal response rates varied according to buck age. By the Deer & Deer Hunting staff Young bucks (1½ to 2½ years) were more responsive to rattling during the pre-rut period, whereas middle-aged bucks (3½ and 4½ years) more...

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...

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...