Two general themes emerged during last week’s series of rut reports; hot weather and early season buck behavior. And as always, our rut reporting team did a great job of addressing how hunters can use general information about hunting conditions and buck behavior to formulate a solid strategy.
South Central reporter Brandon Ray noted that bucks are sorting out dominance issues even when they’re still wearing velvet. Posturing, bumping, and hoof-swatting/ kicking are all ways that bucks can sort out who’s-the-boss problems, and such non-antler fighting can actually go a long way toward saving bucks from serious fighting later in the fall. Bachelor groups always have a pecking order, even when velvet shed is weeks away, and this dominance hierarchy typically last into the fall. However, it’s important to note that some bucks just get testier when they hit the hard antler stage; whether this is due to increased testosterone levels or the sudden knowledge that they’ve now got weaponry on their heads is not known.
Northeast reporter Mike Bleech noted a couple of important buck behaviors in his report. First, early season rubbing is usually not a sign of a buck working off velvet. Though some bucks might work over a sapling in order clean up their antlers, that’s not the main purpose of rubbing; which is to advertise their presence to other bucks (there’s some belief that rubbing also increases the strength in a buck’s neck, sort of like working out).