Bucks in a Rut

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

A mature white-tailed deer sporting large antlers stares at the camera. Image by Derek Stoner, October 23, 2011.

November in the world of the white-tailed deer is full of excitement and purpose.  The shortening of daylight triggers a surge in testosterone in the male deer (bucks) and the onset of estrous (breeding condition) in the females (does). 

Mother Nature times this event carefully so that 6 months from now, all of the baby deer (fawns) will be born at the same time in mid-May to early June.  The period of white-tailed deer breeding activity is known as the rut, a fascinating time in the life of the most-studied species of animal in the world.

Two white-tailed bucks run around during the rut, searching for does to breed. Image by Derek Stoner.

Be on the lookout for lots of deer running around over the next few weeks. Night and day, there will be chases and pursuits as the bucks search for females to breed.  The unfortunate result of all this racing around is that a lot of deer are hit by cars while crossing roads.  This is a time of year that car insurance companies dread! 

Have an interesting deer sighting or encounter to share with us? Please write in the “Comments” section and tell us your story.

2 thoughts on “Bucks in a Rut”

  1. I am a member of DNS and have seen some wildlife locally from time to time BUT I just saw (about 15 minutes ago) something I have never seen in our subdivision (Green Acres in North Wilmington) , a white tailed deer ( not sure if it was buck or doe, but it was an adult) in my backyard in mid day. I do know a deer was hit on the overpass of 141 over Rockland Rd because I saw the body yesterday afternoon. Have there been some factors affecting the deer population locally?

  2. George, the only thing is certain is that the deer population is extremely high, and that seeing them in a neighborhood would not be too unusual. Good sighting, and thanks for reporting it!

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