By the end of October bucks’ and does’ hormone levels have peaked. Combine this with the fact that a full moon hung in the sky on October 18 and you have the ingredients in place for the rut to begin. But don’t be fooled into thinking the rut is about to go hot-to-trot. That won’t happen until mid-November.
The lunar research Wayne Laroche and I have been conducting for over 16 years has shown that when there is a full moon late in October a small percentage of does – about 10 percent – will cue off of this full moon and be bred around the end of October. This will cause bucks to be on the move, trying to find the first estrus doe of the season.
The accompanying photo illustrates what typically happens at this time of year. When I took this photo the doe was feeding in a food plot with a group of other does. The buck entered the clearing, lowered his head and slowly approached the doe. For the next few moments the buck dogged the doe before running her out of the plot. He didn’t follow her, but rather, moved on to another doe. None of the does were in estrus yet but that didn’t slow down the buck. When he finally pushed all the does out of the food plot his nose led him to two locations where a doe had urinated. He paused and lip-curled at each spot before wandering off into the woods in search of more does.
Buckle up your safety harness because things are about to get exciting as deer activity continues to ramp up.
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