Bison Quest Adventure Vacation Blog

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IN THE RUT December 4, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bisonquest @ 1:54 pm

The mule deer at Wild Echo Bison Reserve were in the rut during November.   (This type of rut is not a trench in mud caused by a vehicle, but is the term used for the breeding season of various ungulates.)  Mule deer breed in November, have a 7-month gestation period, and give birth to their fawns in early June.  The rut begins the first week of November and its onset is announced by the appearance of bucks traveling in the middle of the day, with their heads down hot on a trail of a doe.  Most of the breeding takes place during a 2-week period in mid-November, so that most of the fawn births are in early to mid-June.  Adult does generally have 2 fawns.  The clumping of fawning within a short period overwelms predators – that is predators can only eat so many fawns in a short interval, and by the time fawns are a couple weeks old they are capable of escaping coyotes and other predators.  The last week of November we were fortunate to observe mule deer bucks breed does on 2 occassions One buck was a spike yearling that spent much of the fall around our house, and the other buck was a large 4-point that had been staying with 8 does and fawns around the house (their “portraits” were taken by the remote camera on our haystack as seen below).   We saw the yearling buck breed a doe while driving down to Bison Quest camp.  Pam said “there are 2 does”.   Then she said “No, one is a buck – he’s just got the tiniest antlers.”  I looked over and there was junoir mounting the doe.  The doe had her head held low and rump held high.  She was very cooperative and the entire event was over in a few seconds.  This event was repeated the other day in our front yard with the 4-point buck.  Again the doe was very cooperative and in fact invited the breeding through her posture, and the breeding event was, again, very short. – Craig

Feeding the Wildlife

Feeding the Wildlife

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