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buckeyehuntr
07-21-2006, 02:29 PM
anyone havethe date(s) that this years rut phases begin?? i have been following alsheimers predictions for the last couple years and it has proven to be pretty successful in southeast ohio for me. anyone seen the 2006 dates yet??

Luckybuck
07-21-2006, 04:24 PM
Not yet. Here in WI I use the last week of Oct to the middle of Nov. when I pick my vacation time for. Some yrs right on some yrs off a bit. Good luck this season

deerwatcher
07-21-2006, 04:43 PM
Here in South Central WI I take the time from about Halloween to about the 10th of November. Last year it was about 1week-10 days later.

uthunter
07-21-2006, 07:21 PM
According to CA, the seeking phase should begin Nov 1, the chasing phase Nov 7. and the breeding phase Nov 14. This is from the D&DH calendar that they sent out as a promo deal. It has the usual charts/dates that CA puts out in the D&DH mags each year. The "peak" of the seeking phase shows to be around Nov 7...peak of chasing Nov 10...peak of breeding Nov 17.

I have read a lot of the arguments/theories surrounding the "rut" and what it is that supposedly prompts the rutting activity to begin each year. Although the logical side of my brain wants to believe that the rut should occur at similar times each year for each region due to timing the fawn drop to coincide with the best conditions for survival, I have a real hard time not following CA's predictions due to proving them right for several years now. When it comes to hunting whitetails there are VERY FEW "givens" or "constants", so there will always be some variability to "trends"; however, I have hunted TN, MD, OH, and KY over the past 8-10 years, and I have found that when I went back and looked at CA's projections they coincided when we saw the most buck/rutting activity each year.

I have gone with the logical thinking a few years and ignored CA's projections and have always ended up kicking myself later when he was proven to be right.

Enough of the soapbox...Hope this helps and good luck this fall!

BSK_
07-21-2006, 10:42 PM
Breeding peaks on almost the exact same date every year on most places I've worked across America (as long as no major changes in herd dynamics occurs).

Now that doesn't mean--from a hunter's perspective--that it will appear to be on the same dates every year, but the breeding does occur on the same days. Some years, the peak breeding just occurs at night when hunters don't see it.

uthunter
07-21-2006, 11:33 PM
BSK,

I am sure that you have had much more experience/research on this topic than I have. And, as I said, it makes sense that deer would breed around the same time every year in order for their fawns to be born at the most optimum time of the year for survival. It is still hard to dispute Mr. Alsheimer's research/success rate with predicting the rut based on the moon phase. Based on the fact that the first 2 weeks in November are usually accepted as the "hot" time to be in the woods, I scheduled my week off Nov 5-12 last year and ignored CA's prediction that the "rut" would be later (Nov 12 - 26). Although we did see some seeking activity during that week, the woods seemed to erupt on Nov 12 with several mature bucks sighted. I was back in the woods the following weekend on Nov 18, and once again saw a lot of mature buck activity. I read various entries on different forum sites where others also reported that the week of Nov 12 -19 was the hottest activity. We also was able to harvest a pregnant doe later last season, and the local biologist estimated the conception date to be at/around Nov 18. Last year the "Rut Moon" fell on Nov 16.

It seems that there is a 4-5 week window between the last week in Oct and the 4th week in Nov that will almost always contain the "peak" rutting activity. I would think that various bucks would be exibiting the multiple stages (seeking, chasing, breeding) during this period depending on which ones have found the hot does, which ones are still looking, and which ones are in between does. Could the fact that CA's predictions seem to hold some merit be due to daylight activity being higher around the full moon period?

This whole discussion/mystery really intrigues me. There seems to be as many folks that subscribe to one theory as the other. The only thing that really bothers me about the moon theory is the fact that I would think that the same moon phase would trigger all deer rutting cycles, regardless of where they were in the country. I guess there could be something with the actual position of the moon in relation to various parts of the country, but the fact that the Midwest/Northern rut usually falls around the first of November, and the rut in south Texas/south MS is not until January is not until late Dec/Early Jan seems to dispell the theory.

Thayer.qdma
07-22-2006, 12:03 AM
Can't really argue that last point, but I would recommend any Missouri hunter to hunt when they can and where they can....

from Halloween to Nov 15th is key..usually..but big bucks are readily taken outside of these dates.

Please stay in your home states for information gathering procedures...don't need you all coming to the Sho-Me state....at least when our fees are so low!

banc123
07-22-2006, 07:45 AM
What doesn't make sense to me in the South is the rut seems to happen at different times for places just a few 100 miles apart and it seems it happens down here sooner than in the North. Ours is typically late Sept early Oct during bow season. But 2 hours west its mid Nov. Up in Al , I've heard its as late as Dec. Its also not a crazy rut like I've seen in Il . While up there I've seen big bucks running down the side of a packed highway chasing a doe. Part of our difference I'm sure is there really isn't any mother nature punishment from food or weather for having a fawn too early or too late . Interesting stuff how it varies so much.

BSK_
07-22-2006, 10:02 AM
uthunter wrote:
It is still hard to dispute Mr. Alsheimer's research/success rate with predicting the rut based on the moon phase.

What research? I've seen no fetal conception date data from Charlie (and I think the world of Charlie; he is a friend of mine). However, what I have seen is the collection of thousands and thousands of fetal conception date data the top researchers in the world put together and presented at a scientific symposium a few years ago that once and for all, unequivocally proved that moon phases have absolutely no influence on breeding dates. In this research peak breeding dates from year to year were compared to moon phases, and there was no correlation. In fact, in the north, peak breeding dates were extremely concentrated around the same dates every year. In the south there was a little more variation, due to southern deer's lower requirement for optimum fawning times for fawn survival.

BSK_
07-22-2006, 10:14 AM
banc123,

Yes, there can be amazing differences in localized peak breeding dates in the south. This is most likely due to localized adaptations for best fawn drop timing. Highly localized special conditions will, through Natural Selection, eventually concentrate breeding into a window that produces fawn drop at a time most conducive to fawn survival. And these localized conditions can be on the scale of just a small section of one county.

While conducting research in west-central GA, we found peak breeding dates for the local population were more than a month earlier than deer populations just one county away. The real mystery is, "what local conditions are driving these localized breeding dates?"

But also remember that herd dynamics plays a role in peak breeding dates, especially in the south. In essence, you will only see the "natural" peak breeding dates of a local population when the herd dynamics are "right" (in a natural state). Highly skewed sex ratios and poor buck age structures can delay the natural peak breeding dates by a considerable time-frame, as much as a month or more. Research in GA, SC and LA found that taking a highly skewed herd and correcting the herd dynamics could advance peak breeding dates by more than a month. In essence, the "advanced" peak breeding dates of the improved-dynamics herd were not really "advanced," they were simply returned to the normal dates. It would be more accurate to say that skewed social dynamics delay peak breeding.

banc123
07-22-2006, 10:40 AM
Do you think a material change in the habitat on say 2000 acres can change things up ? Or is that too small of an area to have an impact on breeding times ?

I'm curious because about 1/2 of our property was recently 3rd row thinned east to west then the same area was 3rd rowed again N to S . So every 3rd row and every 3rd tree.

Can a change in habitat change the timing of rut on a specific property ?

We killed only does last year and we're still surveying, but it feels like there are more young bucks this year in groups of 3 and more casual visual sightings (not looking for but seeing them around while working).

Boardering a 245,000 acre national forest probably mitigates anything that happens on our 2,000.

JPH
07-22-2006, 11:00 AM
Breeding peaks on almost the exact same date every year on most places I've worked across America (as long as no major changes in herd dynamics occurs).

Now that doesn't mean--from a hunter's perspective--that it will appear to be on the same dates every year, but the breeding does occur on the same days. Some years, the peak breeding just occurs at night when hunters don't see it.

In my VERY humble opinion, BSK is on the money. My personal experience, spent cris-crossing the IA/Mo border from Oct. 1 to Early Dec., shows a fairly constant pattern of rutting behavior from year to year. I follow CA's predictions but they have not held up for me.

Of course, it's hard to go wrong when you hunt where and when I do.:D

BSK_
07-22-2006, 11:23 AM
banc123,

Nutrition absolutely is a major influence on breeding timing. In penned studies, undernurished does reach estrus later than well-nurished does of the same population. However, producing the same experimental results in the wild is confused by the inability to have such tight control one just one factor.

In an experiment on the SC coast, my mentor and ex-boss was able to advance peak breeding dates by over a month (actually, return them to their normal timing) by improving nutrition, balancing the adult sex ratio, and great advancing the buck age structure of a large high-fenced herd. But which of these changed factors was the largest contributor to the change? Hard to say. However, in the aformentioned research in west-central GA, we started with an extremely over-populated and under-nurished herd that already had good herd dynamics (very balanced adult sex ratio and very advanced buck ages structure). Simply by removing enough deer to bring the population back in line with the habitat's ability to support the herd, as well as making some habitat improvements, we were able to advance peak breeding dates by 13 days, but more importantly shorten the range of breeding dates (duration of the rut) from 88 days down to 36 days.

BSK_
07-22-2006, 11:28 AM
And by the way, on the west-central GA project, I tested the peak breeding dates every year against Charlie's predictions--or more accurately, against the idea that the "hunter's full moon" is a driving influence in peak breeding dates. If the timing of the full moon influenced breeding dates, the peak breeding date would occur approximately the same number of days after the hunter's full moon each year. The results did not show that at all. Peak dates were tied to the calendar date, not the date of the full moon.

BSK_
07-22-2006, 11:31 AM
JPH,

Interestingly, on the west-central GA project, we knew the actual peak breeding dates every year. However, before releasing that information to the hunters, we would poll them to find out their opinion concerning when they believed peak breeding occurred each year from their personal observations. It was simply amazing how different the hunters observed daylight peak breeding activity was from the actual peak breeding dates. Just goes to show, when peak breeding occurs and when hunters see the most daylight chasing activity often do not correspond at all. When hunters thought they saw peak breeding and when it actually occurred often was a much as two weaks apart, and the "hunter observed" peak breeding fluctuated far more year to year than the actual peak breeding. I strongly suspect weather and moon conditions are primary driving forces in the amount of breeding that occurs during daylight--when hunters will see it.

CARTER
07-23-2006, 02:17 AM
Is it true that during the actual breeding phase of the rut, that little movement occurs? That is when the doe determines it's time, the chasin ceases and the breeding begins and the 2 move very little? I've read all kinds of different things on this and have yet to figure out a difinitive answer. I'm also curious to whether the buck stays with the doe for a day ot two or does he breed her and move on to find the next receptive doe? T recently read that more does are bred by the average bucks than the older bucks. I'd have to agree and I've also have read where some mature bucks actually participate very little in the rut.

I know my best hunts have been during what I call the trolling phase, I've seen the best bucks during this time which always falls on our club between Christmas and New Years, it's also when the majority of our bucks are killed. The bucks that are harvested usually have lost weight and are stinking. Even though no one had seen any chasing.

We had a doe killed last year on October 15, her tarsals were stained and she smelled strong. She had 2 bucks in tow, one was mature. That same buck was killed a month later by the same guy on another field a half mile away.

Last year, one guy would come in and say he saw some chasing by small bucks and no one else would have seen any chasing, but by the of end of January most guys would see chasing. Personally I see new bucks in the area the first 2 weeks of December, then around Christmas I start seeing more mature bucks, then the first week of January all things cease, then the second week of January it starts over but not to the extent as in December. Whereas others see more chasing at the end of January. The better hunters in the club are divided on when the rut is. I think we have a minimal rut the first of November, then our peak is in December, then we have a secondary in January. Maybe a small one February. We have some of the Michigan deer from a stocking program back in the 50s. Whether that's a factor or not I'm not sure.

A few years ago Game and Fish did a spring harvest of does for fetal size. According to the results, January 18 was the average day. 80% fell into the week surrounding that date. Does were bred anywhere from, Mid December to Mid February. It was the same date as 15 years prior. That land is about 10 miles south of our club. It was before that mangement area went to a point restriction rule, so bucks were overharvested even though they've brought the sex ratio closer together. Still around 5 does to 1 buck.

BSK_
07-23-2006, 08:04 AM
Carter,

I think there will be a big difference in what you observe (concerning rutting activity) in a herd that has good dynamics verusus poor (sex ratio and buck age structure). In a good dynamics herd peak breeding is quiet obvious (within a week or two of the actual peak). And from my experiences, in a good dynamics herd, when the rut is over, it's over. No rutting activity "trickling" along for a month or two afterwards.

The DNA studies done to date (who is breeding who) indicate breeding is a little different than manu assumed. It certainly is not correct that only the dominant bucks are breeding. In good dynamics herds there is still a little breeding being done by yearling bucks. But without question, as a percentage of their representation in the herd (yearling are the largest single age-class, followed by 2 1/2s, then 3 1/2s, etc.), the older the buck the more chance he is actively breeding. In essence, even though the yearling age-class is the largest single age-class, they do the least breeding of any age-class, while the oldest age-classes do more breeding even though they are the smallest age-class (percent of the adult male population). Probably the most interesting finding from these studies is that, even among those older age-classes of bucks, some individuals appear to do no breeding at all. There will be a few bucks of the age-class that are successfully breeding several does each year, while other individuals appear to produce no successful breedings. So Natural Selection is at work (Nature is selecting for some bucks and against others of the same age-class), but exactly what Nature is selecting for is unknown. As a side note, Nature is not selecting for antler size. Often the most active breeders do not have above average antlers.

BSK_
07-23-2006, 08:06 AM
In defense of Charlie's work, let me add they he may be on to something as far as observed, daylight rutting activity. When hunters see the most daylight rutting activity often does not correspond to when actual peak breeding occurs. And I'll be the first to tell you moon conditions do affect daylight deer activity. So Charlie certainly isn't correct about actual peak breeding dates, but he may be right about when hunters will see the most daylight breeding activity.

Bob S
07-23-2006, 08:47 AM
Natural Selection is at work (Nature is selecting for some bucks and against others of the same age-class), but exactly what Nature is selecting for is unknown. As a side note, Nature is not selecting for antler size. Often the most active breeders do not have above average antlers.This is why I continue to hammer on the idea that QDM is about buck age structure, not perfectly symmetrical antlers. QDM practices should be to balance the buck age structure and then let Natural Selection work. QDM should not be culling what we as hunters may think is an inferior buck because we don't like the looks of his rack.

All of the posters on this site who are worried about their buck's genetics should read BSK's post above.

uthunter
07-23-2006, 10:40 PM
BSK,

I have read that Charlie has conducted a lot of research over the last 10 years or so. However, I will agree that, based on what I have read, most of research seems to focus on buck movement/sightings versus conception dates. Therefore, your last post is probably a very accurate statement. And, at the end of the day, aren't most hunters really interested in when that primary daylight activity will be? During that period of time (late Oct thru mid-to-late Nov for the areas that I hunt) it only stands to reason that most of the buck's activity would be in some form or fashion considered "rutting activity", i.e. searching/trolling, chasing, or breeding.

Bottom line...I am going to be in the woods every chance I get from late October through late November. However, based on my past experiences in relation to Charlie's "predictions", I will most likely continue to schedule my vacation around the "rutting moon".

Thanks a lot for your input and insight to this discussion. I always enjoy listening/reading what folks "in the know" have to say...especially on highly debated topics such as "the rut".

BTW, are you going to be at the big Sportsman's Show in Nashville next weekend?

timberdoodle
07-24-2006, 12:31 AM
blanc123, I read the dramatic differences in some of the southern states' breeding period was due to stocking of northern deer into the south to replenish the herds. The biologists thought they would adapt to the local climate and eventually rut when the the native deer did, but the northern deer never changed from their northern breeding schedule.

BSK_
07-24-2006, 08:18 AM
uthunter wrote:
And, at the end of the day, aren't most hunters really interested in when that primary daylight activity will be?

ABSOLUTELY!


Bottom line...I am going to be in the woods every chance I get from late October through late November.

I couldn't agree more uthunter. I've spent many years researching the effect weather and moon conditions have on daylight deer activity. And this research has highlighted some interesting patterns. However, even knowing which days will be "good" and which "bad" for deer movement really doesn't affect what days I hunt that much. I'm in the woods every chance I get, no matter the conditions. Knowing which days should see the most activity only prompts me to make absolutely sure I don't miss those good days.


BTW, are you going to be at the big Sportsman's Show in Nashville next weekend?

Yes, I'm speaking each day.
__________________

BSK_
07-24-2006, 08:25 AM
timberdoodle,

The "restoration genetics" theory has been very popular in the past. However, more recent research on genetics and deer dispersal patterns make it very clear that genetics spread very rapidly across long geographic distances. In essence, imported genetics won't stay "pure" for very long.

I have seen that situation myself. I learned to hunt on a farm that had had WI deer released (when no deer existed in the area at the time) about 15 years previous to my hunting there. At the time I started hunting the property the northern genetics were quiet evident, with bucks have the very long, course winter hair of northern deer, very boxy triangular facial features, large skelatal structures, and rack palmation was commonplace. However, now 30 years later there is no sign of those northern genetics anymore. Too much mixing of genetics with the rebuilt southern deer herds of the area.

I really do believe the extreme variations in rut timing across the Deep South are environmental adaptations for the purpose of fawn survival.

timberdoodle
07-24-2006, 11:28 AM
Thanks for straigtening that out for me. I guess this theory about the northern deer breeding time frame being imposed on the south where the northern deer where released is another example of some bad science. It is unfortunate that "writers" take an observation and try to logically explain what causes it without any biological or scientific data to support it. Even the scientists fall into this trap, drawing conclusions from observations and one know trait or data sample and then making a conclusion without properly confirming the results. I usually take Charlie's information with alittle salt, because he gathers information and then draws conclusions without any scientific backup.

Some of the larger properties that can afford to do their own information gathering concerning deer movement, provide data that confirms some theories and may indicate some others are not correct. But at the same time they get conflicting results themselves and different properties may get completely different behavor from one another. I believe the problem is there are so many variables that when trying to interpret data on deer behavior you cannot compare these results to a "study" or base group and only long time frame studies are even worth considering when trying to confirm a theory.

BSK_
07-24-2006, 12:12 PM
It is unfortunate that "writers" take an observation and try to logically explain what causes it without any biological or scientific data to support it. Even the scientists fall into this trap, drawing conclusions from observations and one know trait or data sample and then making a conclusion without properly confirming the results.

Correct, but I wouldn't simply "blame" writers and scientists for "bad information." Science is a learning process. It is the process of collecting observations and measurements and then trying to build a biologically viable "theory" on what is driving/influencing these observations/measurements. Early in any "new" science (and wildlife biology is somewhat of a new science), the amount of solid information is so limited that most theories start out as just "educated guesses." That is normal science. Only after much research and experimentation, leading to more good data, can the real answers can be determined. And biological systems are so complex, I'm not even sure that a large amount of "how things work" have been answered yet. In the future, better measuring devices, better experiments, and better and more data will certainly lead to the over-turning of today's "accepted" ideas.

For example, highly accurate, frequent position fixing equipment like GPS collars on deer are in such an infant stage of scientific use that GPS-collar studies in the future will absolutely rewrite what we think we know about what deer do every day. The little GPS-collar data collected by the company I used to work for absolutely blew my mind. It was completely different than the "accepted" ideas of what deer do.

sandbur
07-24-2006, 12:40 PM
BSK-Thanks for all the help and useful information.

In Deer and Deer Hunting, didn't John Ozoga cast some doubt on Charlie's predictions? I grew up in the northwoods, probably in habitat somewhat closer to Joh Ozoga's. It always seemed to me that the rut was the same time of the year. I feel the rut is habitat driven. Charlie's predictions are interesting, but I will stick to the traditional dates.

BSK_
07-24-2006, 01:32 PM
sandbur,

I don't remember all of the researchers involved in the "disputing the influence of the moon phase on breeding dates" research, but I believe Ozaga, Miller and Hellickson were involved.

CARTER
07-24-2006, 10:34 PM
The biologist at Bankhead here in N. Al would probably argue over the genetic washing out. Supposedly there are 2 distinct deer in Bankhead. The Northern strain and the Alabama strain. The Northern strain rut in early November and shed the antlers around Christmas thru mid January. I'm good friends with the biologist that had been there for some time. But I'd have to agree to some degree, they have been trying to figure out why the population of the Northern strain are not reproducing as well as hoped. Probably mixing it up with the Alabama deer. I remember a few years ago they were looking at a midge or fly that the Norhtern deer might not be accustomed too. Kinda like the Blue Tongue but only affecting the Norhtern deer.

I've never hunted there and the guys that hunt there say the same as the biologist. There is two zones one for the Northern and the other zone for the southern deer. The area is large and mostly open hardwoods. Most of the successful guys go deep, several miles at a minimum. There is a few guys that pull out 140's or better very year but it's really hard hunting. The rut for the Alabama deer is in mid January.

I think things are little more cut and dry up north compared to down South. These whitetails become more intrigueing every day. I guess that's why their number one in game species being hunted.

BSK_
07-25-2006, 07:42 AM
Supposedly there are 2 distinct deer in Bankhead.

With what has been learned recently about deer genetics and dispersal, I highly doubt this is possible. Just because deer in two different areas seem to show different patterns doesn't mean they are different sub-species. Now there will be localized genetics within the female population (causing different estrus timings), but northern borealis sub-species deer don't live long in the south. They have no resistance to HD. Northern borealis deer also usually perform much poorer than local deer in the South because the local deer are adapted to the conditions while northern deer are not adapted to southern conditions.