Whitetail Deer Mating Behavior
Through the time of year where whitetail deer breed, behavior is erratic, and may even seem daunting. Don’t take this lightly: whitetail deer can get extremely aggressive, and display their dominance in particular ways. For your personal safety and the safety of any accompanying huntsmen, here’s everything you need to know about whitetail deer mating patterns.
Beware The “Rut”
Commonly referred to as the rutting period, or simply the rut, bucks enter intensely aggressive and chaotic phases in their life. It turns into an all-out war for breeding rights with whichever doe they choose. War that is extremely dangerous to humans; getting involved in a whitetail deer mating rut is something you definitely want to avoid. During this time, bucks engage in odd behavior.
A whitetail buck is going to do everything in his power to assert his dominance, and receive breeding rights for his coveted doe. There’s going to be loads of fighting, and aggressive behavior all over the place. A whitetail buck will vigorously roll around in the mud, putting on a show when he knows his soon-to-be mating partner is watching.
Much like how we see our domesticated dogs urinating to mark their territory, a whitetail buck will do the same thing. Whitetail deer mating has a lot to do with scent; when a buck rubs his head and antlers on a small tree, or perhaps a shrub, he’s marking his territory. In most cases, a whitetail buck will maintain his marked territory unless he is runoff by hunters or natural predators. Keeping his scent on an area lets him know that when his doe travels into it, she is becoming subjective and selecting him to breed with.
Sparring With Other Whitetail Buck
This is where the aggression really hits home. If two buck are fighting to mark the same territory, and in turn, ensnare the same doe in their breeding attempts, they will butt heads. Clashing antlers and exerting force against one another is the most common way that two buck will display their dominance, all while the doe is watching
Mating For Life?
Whitetail deer do not mate for life. A buck may have multiple partners within the same mating season. Contrary to previous data, doe can also exhibit this behavior. Whitetail deer are polygamous creatures, and though they have multiple partners, doe are generally alone throughout most of the year, including the spring when they birth.
Most of the attention is on the buck, but what about the receptive doe and her say in all of this? During whitetail deer mating season, it is the doe who decides which buck she will mate with. Any male that pursues them will be met with an equally-impressive retreat, where the doe will effectively evade the buck and wait to make her selection.
How Many Fawn Do Whitetail Deer Have?
When all is said and done, the doe will birth in April through June, normally giving birth to two fawn at a time. Any doe can have between one to three offspring. When fawn are born, they are fully-furred and wide-eyed. If left unharmed by their predator, the wolf, or any hunters, whitetail deer could effectively triple the national population in just under a year.
More Whitetail Deer Facts
Dangers To Humans: Buck Ruts, Doe With Fawns, and Hunting Conditions
The most dangerous time to be around whitetail deer comes down to gender. It cannot be stressed enough how dangerous whitetail deer can be during peak times. Bucks will stand their ground, and aggressively attack hunters who get too close. Their testosterone is on high. If you stand your ground or proceed closer to the buck, you are enticing them, and bringing on a potential attack.
Doe are naturally meek and evasive, unless surrounding by their young. Much like a buck in rut, doe will not only stand their ground, but will fight down to the wire to protect their fawn. After birth, fawn stay around their mother for one to three years, and the buck is not around during their lives. This makes the doe extra protective of her young.
How Dangerous Can Rutting Bucks Be?
It cannot be overstated just how dangerous bucks can be to humans. There are not many statistics that bench on human deaths each year due to non-motorist encounters with whitetail deer, and for good reason. Even without prior knowledge, running into a rutting buck in the wild would send off instinctual alarms in anyone’s head. Whitetail bucks make it very apparent that they are not to be messed with.
How Can I Properly Back Away From A Rutting Buck?
There are precautions to take into account whenever heading off into the wild, whether on a whitetail hunt or otherwise. We know that buck will mark their area by rubbing their antlers on tree bark and shrubs, creating an effective odorous barrier to let other buck know that their territory is clearly marked.
That being said, if you were to wander into the essential den of a buck, he will stand his ground. It’s not simple for humans to understand the exact boundaries that define a buck’s space. Freezing still will not help you in the slightest. It is the same as standing your ground. Keep your eyes on the buck, and back away in a non-threatening manner. Proceeding towards the buck any further will incite their protective instincts, provoking an attack.
When you back away slowly, you’re showcasing to the buck that you are being submissive, which is the exact response they would expect from lesser-buck who challenge them in the wild. This will allow you to reach a safe distance, turn around, and continue to walk the other way. The buck may keep its eyes on your for some time, which is completely normal.