Five Fast Facts About Deer And Habitat

Quick facts about how many hours a day rutting bucks spend chasing does, the earliest and latest breeding dates on record, and more.

Five Fast Facts About Deer And Habitat

According to the Quality Deer Management Association:

  • 7.8 percent to 9.4 percent is the amount of increase in average crude protein levels in natural forage species from 2011, a drought year, to the following year when rainfall was normal. University of Georgia researcher Levi Horrell found, at one site, that protein in American beautyberry jumped from 9 to 14 percent corresponding to increased rainfall. This illustrates how drought can reduce carrying capacity and deer health factors, like fawn recruitment and antler growth.
  • Auburn University researcher Pete Acker’s theory explaining his finding that a small percentage of bucks under 1 year of age (button bucks) successfully fathered fawns each year in a six-year study conducted in Auburn’s 430-acre high-fence research facility. The study found breeding success distributed across bucks of many ages, even as the buck age structure changed to represent more older bucks in the population. 
  • 6.75 hours per day is the amount of time a healthy buck can switch over from foraging to finding does during the rut, if he enters the rut in good condition, when “good condition” is defined as at least 25 percent body fat — about 44 pounds of fat on a 175-pound buck. Dr. Dave Hewitt of Texas A&M-Kingsville predicts bucks that acquire large fat reserves before the rut are more likely to breed successfully because they can afford to spend more time getting the job done.
  • June 22 to April 18 were the earliest and latest dates a doe was bred by a buck to the latest date in a study of more than 300 hunter-harvested does examined by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission. The rut peak varies from July in south Florida to late February in northwest Florida, which is likely the widest variation in the timing of the rut peak found in a single state.
  • 11 days is the longest duration of a springtime excursion (an “excursion” is when a deer temporarily leaves its home range) by bucks in GPS-collar studies in Georgia, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Nearly half of all bucks in these University of Georgia studies made at least one spring excursion, with trip distances ranging from 1 to 8 miles. So far, researchers do not have a reliable explanation for why bucks make spring excursions.

Photo: EEI_Tony/Thinkstock

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