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LITFL Magazine: The Whitetail Deer Rut

It’s that time of year again. Whitetail deer are on the move as the annual rut, or mating season, starts to heat up. Sometime around early November, love begins to fill the air as females, or does, come into heat and buck testosterone levels rise. Does have already dispersed this year’s buck fawns in order to mate again, and eager one- and two-year-old bucks in particular—I call them teenagers—are the first to show any interest. This can set the stage for some challenges when older, more experienced bucks eventually step into the picture when the time is right.

Fawn dispersal plays an important role in whitetail deer procreation dynamics because it prevents potential genetic integration by related deer—known as inbreeding—from entering the gene pool. After nearly six months of motherly love, the doe gives any buck fawns a kick and chases them away, which forces them to look for other territories of their own.

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