Whitetail bucks and their behavior are fascinating. Whitetail deer are the state animal of nine different US states, primarily due to their ever expanding population. Among every species in the animal kingdom, you have one gender that proves to be more domineering than the other. In the case of the whitetail, it’s the buck. While the doe decides a few crucial things, the buck makes the magic happen. Whitetail bucks behave differently; here’s what you need to know about them, and their behavior patterns.
Bucks & The Rut
One of the most noted things about the buck is rutting season. Coming in closely to mating season, whitetail bucks set their testosterone to high, and begin to seek out a mate. During the rut, whitetail bucks will engage in antler-to-antler combat, sometimes killing their foe, all in an attempt to gain the affection of their preferred doe. The rut comes with a few specific things, and makes up most of the whitetail buck behavior pattern.
During the rut, whitetail bucks develop a layer of irritating velvet on the exterior of their antlers. Think of fuzzy plaque on your teeth; fragile and easy to scrape off, and beneath, hardened, glossy white teeth. That’s the same way that whitetail buck antlers work. Once they scrape off the layer of velvet—designed to maintain their antlers—there’s nothing left but the hardened antlers that we often shed hunt.
During the rut, whitetail bucks are at their most volatile and dangerous state. That goes for us hunters, and for their normal predators, like bobcats and mountain lions. During the rut, whitetail bucks mark their territory. They scrape off that layer of velvet we mentioned earlier, breaking away bits of bark on tree trunks as well. They create a barrier made out of worn-down trunks, referred to as their “rutting den” by some hunters, and by all means know this: it’s their territory. Treading into their rutting den is a surefire way to agitate them; back away slowly, and keep your head down. You don’t want to challenge a rutting buck under any circumstances.
Whitetail Bucks Speed and Size
Whitetail bucks are usually between 200 and 300 pounds, and when they leap, can stride about 25 feet. For most American’s, that’s laying four people head-to-toe in a straight line. That’s an enormous distance to put a gap between the buck and its pursuer. While buck can run a bit faster than doe, both still have remarkable speed. A mature whitetail buck can run up to 40 MPH while making those 25 foot leaps; that’s power.
On average, whitetail bucks can be about five feet tall and have tail lengths of up to two feet, depending on the maturity and diet. Those found in a vegetation-rich area are more likely to be larger than average.
Mating Season Whitetail Bucks
Mating behavior of a buck is interesting While the whitetail buck is going to rut like there’s no tomorrow, they don’t hang around for the birth of their fawn in the springtime. The doe raises her fawn (between one and three offspring at a time) and puts herself at a heightened risk for starvation, and a greater risk of being hunted. Buck end up having a longer lifespan as a result of this.
Primary Habitat of Whitetail Bucks
While this changes depending on the season, whitetail deer tend to stay in the same habitat regardless of gender. Wooded areas in the fall and winter, meadows and wide open areas in the spring and summer. What’s different about the whitetail buck in this instance, is that he is more likely to survive than doe. While they’re raising their fawn and aiding them in finding food and water sources, buck can lay down for most of the day without issue. They’re not exposing themselves on a constant basis.
Whitetail buck spend between 60 to 70 percent of their time bedded. They wait until they’re hungry, and since they often require massive amounts of vegetation and foliage each and every day, they’ll fill up by the pound while they’re out and about, return to their bedding area, and spit up their food, only to chew it more slowly and digest it properly.
Buck are also more commonly seen early in the morning, when it’s misty out. While this has no scientific proof to back it, this is a common trait that early morning hunters seem to notice while they’re gearing up for the day: buck just seem to roam around earlier in the day. It’s speculated that buck are more keen to their natural predators sleeping habits, and gather food while they are asleep.
Whitetail Bucks – Facts
- Whitetail buck can swim, but due to their size difference between doe, they swim much slower.
- All whitetail deer have a four-chambered stomach. They often rapidly ingest food, and later, spit it up and chew it slowly to aid in digestion.
- Whitetail bucks do change coat colors with the seasons, but most often take longer than doe by about 2 additional weeks.
- Whitetail buck require much more food than doe. This is primarily due to size. A mature whitetail buck of about 300 pounds has to eat 24 pounds of vegetation per day just to maintain themselves. They’re constantly scouring for food, making them an easier target to hunters.
- In addition to our last fact, whitetail buck also burn up a lot more energy during mating season. A mature buck will jump from 24 pounds of required food per day, to as much as 30 pounds of required food per day—a 25% increase, just due to constant searching for mates.
- Even during winter months when whitetail travel in herds, it’s very rare to see two buck in the same herd. If this is the case, they’re usually pretty far away from each other, like on the other side of a group.
- Whitetail bucks have a slightly longer lifespan than does. The number one reason that whitetail die-off is due to an explosion in population each year, bringing hunters and natural predators more game to hunt down. However, since they don’t care for any young, they have more time to worry about themselves, and a larger body to defend themselves with.
The Best Whitetail Bucks & Hunting Experience in Texas
Whitetail buck are highly desirable for their large antlers, and a bigger haul for the dinner table. For prime whitetail deer hunting conditions and habitat, call Squaw Mountain Ranch at (830) 275-3277 to speak with our professionals, or schedule a tour. There’s nothing like hunting under the perfect conditions and amenities, so come on down to the best habitat for whitetail bucks in Texas.