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Was The Rut Different this Year?

December 24, 2013
Was The Rut Different this Year? - 3

This year we’ve received numerous reports about the unusual rut of 2013. It’s not that our network of whitetail watchers haven’t killed deer, it’s just that buck’s seemingly behaved a bit differently this year. 

“The rut never really happened this year,” read one report. “I saw one chase all season and it was hit and miss all season.” 

If you boil the comments down, most of the fuss seems to center around the lack of stereotypical rut behavior. 

Now we all know better than to even remotely believe that whitetails took the year off as far as reproduction is concerned. We’re sure that when the biologists get their data together, we’ll see what we see every year—whitetails are reproducing and doing a darn good job of it. And, for the most part, the majority of the breeding will have occurred sometime in November. 

So what’s up with all the comments? Was this year’s rut really different? Did this year’s rut where you hunted start to ramp up sometime in mid-October? Did you see increased buck activity and rubs and scrapes show up as usual? Did you see early-season sparring turn into late-season fighting and did it build to a fever pitch in early November with bucks chasing does all over the woods? Or, did something else happen; or not happen?

Noted deer authority Charles Alsheimer believes that rut behavior is heavily influenced by the moon. Long before the season was upon us, he predicted we would experience a so-called trickle rut in 2013. This year’s breeding would begin in mid-October and more or less continue through November. We probably would not see the traditional model play out with its usual drama of gradually building then an explosion of activity. His reasoning involved this season’s two breeding moons—one in October and one November. Normal years have only one. This certainly seems plausible and jives with many of our reports.

So let’s figure this out, did you have the same old rut this year, or did something different take place. Let’s talk about it now while 2013 is still fresh in our memories.

Comments (3)

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from Brian Reed wrote 27 weeks 20 hours ago

I saw bucks chasing does starting early October here in Indiana. Then it was like they took the first couple weeks of November off but started back towards the end of November. I have trail cam pics of some bucks still sparring after Christmas.

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from James Oneil wrote 29 weeks 3 days ago

The same thing happened in pa. One day seemed to be good and than shut right down. I was scratching my head a lot this year but did get the job done in late October.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 29 weeks 3 days ago

What I saw certainly fit with what Charles Alsheimer predicted. It was a big-time trickle rut here in my part of Iowa, with decent action if you happened to have a hot doe around, but otherwise very little daylight movement by older bucks. I saw the first hot doe in late October, and the breeding seemed to just kind of slowly trickle along until late November. And the second half of November was definitely better than the first half. Definitely the slowest rut I've ever hunted in terms of daylight buck movement by 3.5 year old and older bucks.

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from huntfishtrap wrote 29 weeks 3 days ago

What I saw certainly fit with what Charles Alsheimer predicted. It was a big-time trickle rut here in my part of Iowa, with decent action if you happened to have a hot doe around, but otherwise very little daylight movement by older bucks. I saw the first hot doe in late October, and the breeding seemed to just kind of slowly trickle along until late November. And the second half of November was definitely better than the first half. Definitely the slowest rut I've ever hunted in terms of daylight buck movement by 3.5 year old and older bucks.

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from James Oneil wrote 29 weeks 3 days ago

The same thing happened in pa. One day seemed to be good and than shut right down. I was scratching my head a lot this year but did get the job done in late October.

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from Brian Reed wrote 27 weeks 20 hours ago

I saw bucks chasing does starting early October here in Indiana. Then it was like they took the first couple weeks of November off but started back towards the end of November. I have trail cam pics of some bucks still sparring after Christmas.

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