Understanding Whitetail Breeding
Enhancing and improving our habitat not only allows us to hold more/bigger whitetails but if we understand more about how they live, breed and travel we can also manipulate the habitat to increase hunting success. My friend Doug sent me a link to the SE Deer Study Group which in turn has the results of many great studies that may dispel myth's and and allow us to manage our deer herd and hunt more effectively.
Southeast Deer Study
The following is extremely important information because knowing that buck travel during the rut is not random and will be repeated, we can create funnels and hunt those travel corridors confidently.
Male White-tailed Deer Movement Patterns During the Rut: Chaotic or Strategic?
Aaron M. Foley, Randy DeYoung, David Hewitt – Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute; Mickey Hellickson – King Ranch; Karl V. Miller – University of Georgia; Ken Gee – Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation; Mitch Lockwood – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Because white-tailed deer are not easily observed and conventional radio-telemetry does not allow for fine-scale movement investigations, descriptions of male breeding strategies is lacking. Most does are bred during a 2 to 4 week period and individual does are receptive for only 1 to 2 days. The short time window suggests males would have a strategy to locate receptive does rather than wandering randomly. To address this question, we captured and GPS-collared 106 adult male white-tailed deer across 4 years in South Texas. Radio-collars recorded locations every 15 to 20 minutes during late October to mid-February, which covered the entire breeding season.
Males did not wander widely during peak rut; only 30% of their home ranges were utilized. Instead of roaming widely, most males had 2 or more focal points of activity within their home ranges. Focal points were 60-140 acres in size. During peak rut, focal points were re-visited frequently and most males visited focal points every 20 to 28 hours.
Because females are in estrus for about 24 hours, our data suggest that males space their visits to assess female receptiveness. Furthermore, focal points of several individual males overlapped with other bucks which suggest many bucks visited the same doe groups during peak rut. Our data improve understanding of how males search for females, the white-tailed deer breeding system, and the use of spatial memory while searching for resources.
There are even more misconceptions about peak breeding itself, when and why it occurs...if we don't see bucks we are certain the rut is over or hasn't started or they are in "lockdown" so the following may help you better understand the truth about this subject.
Peak Breeding - As Reliable as the Sun
As Reliable as the Sun – Our biologist examines the rut peaks across the country.
August 9, 2011
By Buckmasters’ Bob Humphrey – View PDF
Peak rut represents an annual high point for deer hunters and the bucks they pursue. It’s not surprising that predicting when it will occur is the hottest topic in whitetail hunting.
Theories abound, based on a host of factors including temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, type and amount of precipitation, moon phase, the earth’s gravitational pull and the brown and white bands on a wooly bear caterpillar.
The fact is, predicting when the peak of rut will occur is not difficult, and there’s no secret formula.
Whitetail breeding is based on photoperiodism — changes in the amount of daylight. Because fall daylight diminishes at the same rate and time every year, the rut happens at the same time, with very little exception. That’s no casual affirmation. It’s based on years of research from every state and province where whitetails live.
If you want to know when the peak of the rut occurs, you don’t need meteorological charts or crystal balls. Call your state biologist, or read on. We’ve done it for you.
Putting known, factual information together with our own observation on our land can allow us to make positive changes to our habitat that can increase the odds of a successful encounter with a mature whitetail buck...