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Nov 09

Important Message from the DNR.......

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Report

whitetail deer rut continues in full swing

buck scrape.jpgbuck scrape 2.jpg
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 nocturnal.

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 contributor. 

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


Private Life of Deer

As we begin what may be the longest week of the school year for some students, I thought I would pass along a free resource.  Nature has done an outstanding job with its documentary: The Private Life of Deer.  Wisconsin’s own white deer herd is featured too.  You can stream it online for free at 
Have a great week,
Laura Hasselquist
Agricultural Science Instructor & FFA Advisor
Chippewa Falls Senior High School
Picture Placeholder: Kuntz, Chris
  • Kuntz, Chris
 on 11/18/2013 8:49 AM

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