home Deer When Do Whitetail Deer Rut? Myth Busting Facts for You

When Do Whitetail Deer Rut? Myth Busting Facts for You

In our earlier article, When is rut season for deer, we highlighted that the rut season varies as per location and species. Rut season in the northern states comes earlier than the southern states. Among species, rut season for whitetail deer comes later than the rut season for mule deer. So the question now is: When do whitetail deer rut?

Rut season for whitetail deer spans from the beginning of September till the end of January. As per research studies,

In our earlier article, When is rut season for deer, we highlighted that the rut season varies as per location and species. Rut season in the northern states comes earlier than the southern states. Among species, rut season for whitetail deer comes later than the rut season for mule deer. So the question now is: When do whitetail deer rut?

Rut season for whitetail deer spans from the beginning of September till the end of January. As per research studies, November 13th is believed to be the average peak day for whitetail deer rut.

When Do Whitetail Deer Rut

You may have heard theories that the phases of the moon influence peak breeding for whitetail deer, however, there is no scientific evidence to back up this myth. As per most biologists, the photoperiod has the biggest impact on when the deer breed and this is why the rut season varies as per latitude.

Although it is difficult to precisely predict the timing of rut season for whitetail deer, there are certain dates which can help you plan your next hunting trip.  You should remember that these dates are only a guide. In fact, there are many other factors that can affect the rut season. Factors such as buck to doe ratio, weather and climate may cause the rut season to be varying across regions or in any given year.

  • Pre-Rut: Phase One. Rut season for whitetail deer usually begins between 18th October and 2nd November.
  • Seek and Chase: Phase Two. Next stage takes place between 3rd November and 12th November.
  • Peak Breeding: Phase Three. You will want to look out for this period. Rut season for whitetail deer peaks between 13th November and 24th November.
  • Post-Rut: Phase Four. The last phase takes place between 25th November and 15th December.

Biological Literature on When Do Whitetail Deer Rut

Several research studies have been carried out by biologists that can be used to determine the rut season for whitetail deer. As we believe in giving you information backed by facts and not myths, we are sharing summary from a couple of such research studies:

In one of the studies, 6000 does were observed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. As per their observation, 90% of these does were bred between the mid-October and mid-December. The study also showed that the peak of the rut season for whitetail deer occurred around mid-November.

In another study, the Minnesota DNR studied the conception dates of over 1800 whitetail deer and found that the earliest conception took place on 1st October and the last one took place on 28th January. All other conceptions occurred between these dates, with most falling between 19th November and 24th December.

Conclusion

It is difficult to predict the exact rut season for whitetail deer as the timing varies as per latitude. As a general rule of thumb, rut season in the north occurs earlier than the south and the rut season in the northern states is much shorter. Although hunters are always looking for peak rut, you will find that breeding does occur up to two weeks before the peak and continues for up to a month afterward.

In case, you wish to read more about rut season for deer, then we can suggest following articles:

You can also read Where to Hunt During the Rut to find out best practices for choosing between public spaces or private land for your next hunting trip.

Please check local rules and regulations before you go hunting.

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