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How wildlife biologists predict the deer rut

By Michael Anthony Foster, University of Georgia

Once again, it is that time of year when bucks start chasing does, and deer hunters hit the woods. You guessed it: It is time for the rut, or breeding, season. But the question to be answered is, “How do biologists predict when the rut is going to be?”

Rut season is when bucks furiously seek to breed. During this time, buck feeding activity severely decreases, and bucks’ primary goal is to breed as many does as possible. Throughout this period, bucks become aggressively territorial. With whitetail deer, this territorial behavior is not so much about defending a particular piece of land, but rather, excluding other bucks from breeding a receptive female. Continue reading