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Old 11-18-2008, 02:02 PM
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Default Estrus cycle of the whitetail deer

On another site the question was asked, what causes the rut to end? Just some interesting things I found and was wondering if anyone knows anything more to add or corrections to make:

Whitetail deer are: Seasonally Polyestrous Animals. My understanding of this is that these are animals that have multiple estrus cycles only during certain times of the year. Deer along with goats and elk are: Short day breeders ie. those that 1) cycle when the days are getting shorter (Fall). 2) Anestrus (do not cycle) in the spring and summer. As appossed to Long day breeders that cycle when the days get longer and are anestrus in the fall and winter. I thought that the doe cycled all year and it was because of the bucks lack of testosterone that they did not breed all year. If I understand this correctly the doe will have more than one estrus cycle if she is not bred during the first cycle this is where the secondary rut comes from some 28 days later. But after the days start getting longer she will no longer cycle. She can be bred for perhaps only 24 hrs. During this time she may also be bred by a different buck and easily become impregnated by both, thus having multiple fawns by one, two or more different bucks. I think it is amazing that this is all timed out with when the bucks testosterone levels rise and fall and the fawns are born in the spring and given the greatest chance of survival. Nature is amazing.
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Old 11-18-2008, 02:13 PM
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Interesting. I agree that nature is indeed amazing and it seems that our knowlege of the whitetail is always changing and expanding.
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Old 11-23-2008, 04:54 AM
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What about LA (Lower Alabama)? The days are geting longer during their January rut, and I have seen fresh scrapes in February in Central FL.

I think that there are always going to be isolated populations of animals that behave differently than the norm.

Here's and example of variation in just central Florida. This is from personal observation and talking with landowners, hunters, and biologists.
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Old 11-25-2008, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaBoy View Post
What about LA (Lower Alabama)? The days are geting longer during their January rut, and I have seen fresh scrapes in February in Central FL.

I think that there are always going to be isolated populations of animals that behave differently than the norm.

Here's and example of variation in just central Florida. This is from personal observation and talking with landowners, hunters, and biologists.
First, scraping activity while more intense during the rut isn't necessarily an indication that the rut (actual chasing and breeding) is on going. Scraping activity (actually pawing the ground) continues quite often until a buck sheds his antlers and to a limited degree all year long. Bucks may not paw the ground all year long but the licking branch may indeed be used all year long.

As for the late rut that occurs as you pointed out in AL, many biologists, including our own BSK, are trying to figure that puzzle out but as far as I know have yet to determine a conclusive complete explaination for the January rut. We do know that for most of the country, the lessening amount of daylight does in fact trigger the release of hormones that initiates the rut cycle.

Does that go unbred during their first estrus cycle will come back into season again a 2nd and even a 3rd and sometimes more until they are bred. This is most often the result of high doe to buck ratios. A sexually mature buck is also capable of breeding all year round I have been told though the drive to do so is greatly reduced.

As for what Alphdoe is speaking about, I do not believe and have never heard or read anywhere that whitetail does go through an estrus cycle all year round but go unbred solely because bucks are incapable of breeding them due to their low testosterone levels during the long days of the spring and summer months. Though I am admittedly no authority on that subject either. In fact, bucks experience a testosterone spike in the late spring that causes them to begin their new antler growth and often this spike in testosterone will cause a bucks to suddenly begin pawing new scrapes in May but it certainly is not an indication of any breeding activity.

Most assuredly there are other factors at work beside the normal low light of fall when a late, January or so, rut is the norm in a localized area. As far as I know, the complete answer to that still eludes us. I am sure BSK could speak with much greater authority on the subject as it is a subject that I know he takes a particular interest in.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SiberianXpress View Post
First, scraping activity while more intense during the rut isn't necessarily an indication that the rut (actual chasing and breeding) is on going. Scraping activity (actually pawing the ground) continues quite often until a buck sheds his antlers and to a limited degree all year long. Bucks may not paw the ground all year long but the licking branch may indeed be used all year long.

As for the late rut that occurs as you pointed out in AL, many biologists, including our own BSK, are trying to figure that puzzle out but as far as I know have yet to determine a conclusive complete explaination for the January rut. We do know that for most of the country, the lessening amount of daylight does in fact trigger the release of hormones that initiates the rut cycle.

Does that go unbred during their first estrus cycle will come back into season again a 2nd and even a 3rd and sometimes more until they are bred. This is most often the result of high doe to buck ratios. A sexually mature buck is also capable of breeding all year round I have been told though the drive to do so is greatly reduced.

As for what Alphdoe is speaking about, I do not believe and have never heard or read anywhere that whitetail does go through an estrus cycle all year round but go unbred solely because bucks are incapable of breeding them due to their low testosterone levels during the long days of the spring and summer months. Though I am admittedly no authority on that subject either. In fact, bucks experience a testosterone spike in the late spring that causes them to begin their new antler growth and often this spike in testosterone will cause a bucks to suddenly begin pawing new scrapes in May but it certainly is not an indication of any breeding activity.

Most assuredly there are other factors at work beside the normal low light of fall when a late, January or so, rut is the norm in a localized area. As far as I know, the complete answer to that still eludes us. I am sure BSK could speak with much greater authority on the subject as it is a subject that I know he takes a particular interest in.

Sorry, I was just stating that before reading a little on the subject...I thought that the does would cycle all year and because of the drop in testosterone in the bucks that they wouldn't get bred. Then I read the information that explains the short day theory "Photoperiod". I also read that a photo-sensitive gland known as the "pineal gland" is located at the base of the brain of all animals. Seems that this gland is kinda like a third eye. This gland controlls the reproductive centers of the brain and serves as a biological clock. Genetics set this clock but the photoperiod or length of the day regulates the start and stop of the cycle. I think this gland works kinda the same way for the bucks as antler production starts in the spring of the year as a result of increases in hormones brought on by longer periods of daylight.
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Old 12-16-2008, 11:46 PM
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Just curious...can someone answer this question? I have a friend who hunts approx 60 miles as the crow flies due west of my hunting property. His rut peaks mid November, my peak rut is the end of December (1.5 months apart). We are in the same time zone and the length of the day is the same (we are in northern Louisiana). Any explanations???
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:23 AM
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It is true that the rut is triggered by photoperiod, but it is more related to when the optimal time for dropping the fawns will be for any given area. Again...day/night length is just the 'alarm' that sets off the biological clock.
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baulds View Post
Just curious...can someone answer this question? I have a friend who hunts approx 60 miles as the crow flies due west of my hunting property. His rut peaks mid November, my peak rut is the end of December (1.5 months apart). We are in the same time zone and the length of the day is the same (we are in northern Louisiana). Any explanations???


Some areas of the same latitude may have different rut peaks, but without lactation, gestation and/or birth data to back up the differences between 2 locations, it would be highly unreliable to simply go by observation data alone and definitively say that the ruts are at different times. It could be that your deer are rutting during that first period as well, but if the sex ratio is skewed, the 2nd rut could seem more intense by just the observation data. Are there any major geographical features that separate 'his' deer from 'your' deer?
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:12 PM
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To me it would be logical to think that the further north the deer are located, the more critical it is to complete the breeding cycle quickly due to the approaching severe winter conditions. In southern climates where conditions are less severe there would be more time for the breeding cycle to be completed. In the north,to continue in estrus into the mid winter conditions would be a waste of resources the body needs to survive in the deep snow, cold temps and poor browse availability. I have no scientific proof of this difference, but it may explain those January/ February rutting signs in Florida. Just thinking while I'm waiting for plotting season.
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:16 PM
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Mother Nature causes the estrus cycles to stop and its location specific and bread into the DNA over hundreds of years. The trigger for the start/stop is probably the same for most regions, but the local herds interpretation of it could be different. Mother nature has bread into the genes of norther deer that they're window is short when the signs come. Mother nature also knows there is no point in breeding past a certain point. I know we have a major rut in Oct-Nov and have some light breeding still going on in Jan, but its light.

Can't say if its true, but I read where Whitetail Deer from the N Hemisphere (US) were transported to the S Hemisphere where the seasons are reversed and the breading dates changed for those deer from Nov to May.
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