Important Message from the DNR.......
Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources Outdoor Report
whitetail deer rut continues
in full swing
The white-tail deer rut continues in full swing in many
areas, though some areas report it is just getting underway. Deer have been
observed during all hours of the day. Fawns are beginning to split away from
does and bucks are being seen more during daylight hours.......What is rut ?
The rut refers to all behaviors and activities associated with the breeding
season of white-tailed deer.
There are several behaviors associated with the rut. Rutting behavior
typically begins around the time that velvet is shed from the antlers
(coinciding with decreasing day length and increasing testosterone levels) and
ends when antlers are shed (coinciding with declining testosterone levels). The
first sign of rutting behavior is often sparring among bucks. Sparring may take
place between bucks. Initially, these are usually short-lived, low intensity, pushing and
shoving matches. These sparring matches may help establish the dominance
hierarchy among males. As the peak of the breeding season approaches, sparring
matches may give way to full-blown antler fights.
Two other behaviors associated with the rut are "rubbing" and
"making scrapes." Both serve as scent signposts for olfactory and,
perhaps, visual communication. A lot of rubbing behavior takes place shortly
after velvet is dried and/or shed, but continues throughout the rutting period.
A rub is initially made by a buck rubbing his antlers and forehead (for scent
deposition) on a shrub or small tree. Once created, a rub may be used by
several bucks or does. Generally, bucks begin "making scrapes"
several weeks after the first rubs appear. This activity increases as the
breeding season peaks and then declines throughout the remainder of the rutting
period. A scrape is made by a buck pawing a spot of ground, usually to bare
soil, and rub-urinating in that soil. A scrape is often associated with a low,
overhanging branch which is often broken by the buck biting and/or pulling on
the branch. Scent from the forehead, preorbital gland or mouth is often
deposited on the broken branch. Much rubbing and scraping behavior is
The peak of the rut is generally in mid-late
November. A common belief is that cooler weather is responsible for the
increased rutting activity at this time; however, day lenght is the primary
Why tell your students about Rut.... Because when you are out walking in the woods you are going to come across buck scapes and ruts and you will want to be able to explain what has happen there and why.
DNR deer information - videos