October 28, 2013
Deer Hunting: When a Whitetail Chase is Really a Chase - 0
Since early September we have been receiving reports of bucks chasing does. Does this mean the rut is on? Hardly! It means a buck will chase a doe about any time he feels like it. The more testosterone he has in his system, the more he will feel like chasing. It also means, we need rethink the common belief that a buck chasing a doe is a sure sign of “rut on” because, as the saying goes, all chases are not created equal.
As summer turns to fall and days begin to shorten, testosterone levels begin to rise in whitetail bucks. Testosterone is the male hormone which basically drives a buck to reproduce. The testosterone machine kicks in sometime around Labor Day and gradually increases production until about mid-October. Testosterone is what makes a buck act like a buck and drives him to make all those scrapes and rubs. It leads to sparring matches and the occasional fight. This is all to establish dominance and sort out who will do the breeding and who will do the watching.
It is also what causes bucks to chase does and leads hunters to inaccurately call “rut on.”
After years of whitetail watching and reviewing thousands of field reports from fellow whitetail watchers, we believe there is a real difference between a buck chasing a doe because he is feeling his oats and a buck chasing a doe because he has a nose full of estrus pheromones telling him that she is available for breeding. The former occurs primarily due to the effects of testosterone on the bucks system (especially young bucks) the latter happens when testosterone meets estrus.
When Testosterone Meets Estrus
The Hunter’s Rut
The bottom line: See a handful of estrus chases in a weekend and you had better stay in camp and call in sick. The “hunter’s rut” comes but once a year and you want to be there when testosterone meets estrus.