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FAWNING - A Look Back at the Rut

Below is a photo from a Facebook post on Trophy Bucks of Iowa today that was shared with a post for context from a gentleman in Illinois. I added the circles because that little booger is hard to see if you're skimming through too quickly.

Dan Chisholm says "All my hunting friends take note! First fawn of the year. Normally Whitetail does get bred November 4th-12th(the Rut) and fawns start hitting the ground the middle of May. Gestation period for whitetail deer is 196-201 days. That means this doe was most likely bred in the middle of September. Never again will I doubt someone telling me they saw a hot doe getting chased the first week of October!"

Both myself and my hunters have seen does being pushed and corralled by a mature local buck in October, but it has always been after October 15th. Nonetheless, that is almost an entire month early compared to what most say is "peak breading" on the 14th and 15th of November each year. Rewind two weeks earlier in the opening of bow season, October 1st, you could see a hot doe running around! The odds of this is pretty slim based on the data, but if wild 275" wild bucks are possible, so is a hot doe in early October or even September.

What does this mean if we see a hot doe "early" in or around our farms. I chalk it up as a flyer statistic. Now, if I see 3 hot does and bucks going nuts, well, that is a better sample size of course. The earliest we have seem 3+ hot does in a 1-2 days stretch was the last week of October following a big cold front that hit. I do not remember the moon phase, but nonetheless, this was a unique sight to see. That area was then left by the mature bucks as it tripped their trigger. Now, they came back into the farm more consistently in mid November whereas most would be experiencing the "lockdown" and "post rut" hunting atmosphere.

When you consider buck-to-doe ratios, it is reasonable to expect that you could see extending breeding timeframes due to not enough bucks in an area. Since I am not a biologist, I do not know if a doe will come back through in heat until she is bred. I assume such because we have seen rut activity into December before - the "second rut". I can more easily explain that versus does coming into heat in September. But I guess it is all possible.

What is the earliest you've seen or heard of a doe coming into heat during the year? I'm curious if anyone has seen or heard of one in September prior to the example above. Anyways, thanks for reading! Have a great week!

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LetThem Grow
LetThem Grow
29 thg 3, 2023

2 decades of trail cameras reveal to me that most years there is a mature doe in heat around 20th of October. But haven’t experienced September estrus yet…thanks for posting!

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