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A deer biology question

Discussion in 'Bucks and Does' started by bkr43050, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. I took a nice size doe yesterday that seemed to still be nursing fawns. This in itself does not surprise me a whole lot as I have seen fawns trying to latch on to a doe during bow season but usually a month or more before this time. Her mamary glands were pretty full of milk and her teats were pulled which seems a pretty good indicator. This led me to thinking about how this activity relates to the breeding cycle for the doe. Would she have likely come into estrous at the same time as the other does. And can she continue to produce milk through the whole cycle. I guess I was trying to apply some of what I have heard about the human reproductive (both being mammals).
  2. Good question. Fawns are typically weaned by the time they're 4 months old, so she should have been done nursing by now, though some milk will remain. If, perhaps, she was bred in Jan. and gave birth an July, then the fawns may still be nursing. The question then becomes, did she come into estrous last Nov. and Dec. and not get bred until Jan., or is she just later than most other deer? If she's just a late one, she'll be that way every year. If she never got bred the first two times in estrous, will that throw her off from then on? That's one I don't know the answer to.

  3. If her teats were pulled, it might have been a little extra stimulation from a considerate buck.:)

  4. That comment could be used in a "miller high life" commercial!!!! :p :eek:

    MLAROSA Loving Life

    I have read that there is actually 2 ruts. The second rut begins about 28 days after the first rut. I am pretty sure I read this in a bow hunting mag somewhere. It said something along the lines that the majority of deer rut at one time, but there is a small second rut that begins about 4 weeks afterward.

    Maybe some bow hunters could shed some more light on the 2 ruts?
  6. Bassnpro1

    Bassnpro1 OSU outdoorsman

    the second rut is just the does that did not get bred the first time, coming into heat for a second time. Also fawns might be mature enough to breed during this second rut. The second rut is less intense because the majority of does meet up with Mr. Buck the first time
  7. I know that there is actually what they refer to as a "second rut" and even a third rut and potentially further if does never get bred. Mlarosa, you are right that they come back into estrous in approximately 28 days from the first cycle (just like humans) and this will continue to occur until she gets bred (again like humans). I know december breeding is quite common and January breeding is not that highly unusual. I think the reference to "rut" is referring to the whole reproductive cycle which includes the bucks' aggressive activity. I think that this rut activity continues on into January in many areas and its culmination is when there are no longer any does to be bred. There is never a real stoppage of the activity throughout the rutting season because not all does' time clocks are the same and there are always some does coming into estrous throughout. However, there is the peak in early November that makes everything go crazy. And at this time there is just not enough time in a day for the bucks to do their thing which is why some get passed up.


    I have never read anything about the time length for the nursing period. The 4 months would put her right at the end of the time for a January bred doe. Unfortunately, we will never know when this gal would have gotten bred this season. ;)

    That is a good one. :D :D
  8. I've seen this a few times before. Back in '95 I took a 1.5 yr. old doe during the gun season that still had plenty of milk. I'm not exactly sure why? I too have seen fawns try to nurse during the early bow season, but never as late as December?

    This reminds me -

    We were driving thru Hocking Hills in early April of 1999 when I spotted a deer along the roadside. We turned around to get a look and were astonished at the size of this doe. She was short and small; tooooooo small! We guessed her to be around 50-60 lbs. She stood there and looked at us from only about 35 yards. I was with another bow hunter and we could not believe our eyes.

    We decided the deer was a FREAK, and that there was no way possible for this deer to be a "late birth" or slow grower, etc.... Never seen anything like it to this day?
  9. Fish-N-Fool, most likely she was the result of poor nutrition. I used to work at a State park, where are large area surrounding the beach, lodge, and golf couse was off limits to hunting. The deer there were severely over populated. I once picked up a road kill fawn that I could hold up with one hand, like a rabbit. Couldn't have weighed 40 lbs., and this was in late winter/early spring.
  10. hey guys both does i got tuesday had milk in them!!
  11. stumpsitter

    stumpsitter Regular Guy

    I've shot does before during the gun season that still had milk in them.

    A couple of years ago, I saw quite a bit of rutting activity during the muzzle loader season in late December. There were several bucks chasing young doe fawns.

  12. I am wondering with the much higher deer populations if perhaps there are a lot more deer that are making into January without being bred? I know I have always heard people mention that they have seen rutting activity during the muzzleloader season. I don't hunt all that much during that season but I may try to get out a bit this year. I will be interested to see whether there is much rutting activity going on in my area.
  13. bkr -

    You could be on to something there with the population idea. I know there are other factors like buck-to-doe ratio, etc..., but that makes sense on a #'s basis.

    We hunt Fayette & Greene Counties during the bow and gun seasons, but don't see mush rutting activity for the blackpowder season. These Counties have a low deer density when compared to the central and southeastern Counties. We usually travel to Muskingum County for the blackpowder season and hunt a farm there and see LOTS of rutting activity. In fact, we have only made the trip to Muskingum for blackpowder a few times.

    Sure has me thinking :confused:
  14. There are obvious deer density variances throughout the state as the bag limit regulations and county kills support. But what is not real apparent is the approximate doe/buck ratios. Coincidentally, I was talking to a colleague earlier today about hunting and the topic of deer pops came up. We were speculating on doe/buck ratios in our areas. If I had to put a number to a ratio in my area (central Knox) I would say maybe 4:1 or 5:1. The area he hunts is eastern Knox and Coshocton and Holmes counties. He guessed 10:1 in most areas. Another guy who hunts with his group and who has a great deal of experience with deer populations in Ohio and several other states (he hunts for Drury Outdoors) estimated that some of the areas they hunt may be 30:1 or 40:1. I can not believe that at all. That just seems way too high. But at the same time it makes me think that those areas are probably WAY higher than in my area. But those guys have no room to complain because for the most part they are only trophy hunting. They are only taking a couple of does for hunting camp food. So they are adding to the problem.
  15. The area I hunt in Fayette County has a low population of deer, but the buck-to-doe ratio is great. Obviously I'm not qualified to put an exact # on it, but I'd say it is 3:1, maybe better. This year I have seen 4 more bucks than does in Fayette County. This is a biased statistic because I know for a fact some of those bucks were the same deer. But it is hard to tell if the does are the same or not? I usually see between 6-10 different bucks each season out there. Might see some of them only once; others several times. This year I've only seen 5 different bucks out there - 2 mature. Always have great rutting activity every year out there too.

    The area in Greene County has 3X the deer population as Fayette, but also a good ratio. We do see more does than bucks, but always a good rut and many times see up to 20 different bucks per season between 3 of us.

    Both of these areas seem to have a good age distribution throughout the herd as well. We see a mixed bag of deer from fawns to 3.5 years; after that it is hard to tell exactly how old, but you know they are at least 3.5. Most of the big old bucks we kill have battle wounds too; which is a good indication there are other bucks of equal size/age to fight with.
  16. That does sound like a healthy population. So do you guys harvest quite a few does throughout the season? I know several guys around here who will hunt for buck only and then many times it is the same guys who complain that all they are seeing are does and scab bucks. :rolleyes:
  17. We only take bucks 3.5 years +; and usually 3-5 does each year. My buddies shoot the does because they still have that urge to kill; I just watch em! I also eat them after they've done all the dirty work :D

    I haven't taken a single doe in Fayette County in 4 seasons. I figure the other guys in the area get a few and frankly I don't see that many. I always see as many bucks as does out there.

    I hate to take a doe from late October thru Gun season anyway - always afraid the big guy's following her around.

    Very few years do we all tag a buck :eek:
  18. That is the way I feel about bow season. But come gun season I figure things get so messed up anyway that I go ahead and get my meat. We do bowhunt a couple of farms in eastern Knox and Holmes county which the farmer wants us to take the does. We only hunt it for 3-4 days but usually manage to take a few does. The deer ratio does not seem too bad in that area and there are plenty of deer.
  19. If you saw it still nursing fawns why would you kill it, not all deer give birth at the same time or go into season at the same time. I would have had to let that one walk on by, now it could have 2 fawns out there that is going to starve to death because of your actions. Poor hunter ethics, IMHO.
  20. catking

    catking Banned

    I didn't read that into it at all salmoide. I believe bkr43050 was referring to the fact that AFTER ke killed it, he discovered the doe was still nursing. I don't see anywhere that he killed a doe that had fawns trying to nurse it. That was an awful big assumption you took ;) But I 'll let Brian defend himself. CATKING