Few events cause more conversation among deer hunters than the onset of the rut. Some believe that a sudden onset of cold weather will initiate breeding activity and, conversely, warm weather may delay it. Others believe that moon phases are a factor. The whitetail rut varies across the nation from late summer to late winter, depending upon where deer live. QDMA’s Kip Adams does a thorough job of covering the facts. Read this article and you’ll be in the know about the rut in your area — and you’ll be top dog on all those campfire debates. Here are the scientific facts:

TX Deer 06 332Whitetails are rutting somewhere in their range from August through February. Amazingly, they breed over this seven-month period just in the state of Florida! Let’s look at the factors that lead to widely varying breeding dates, and you’ll also see how practicing Quality Deer Management can make the rut more obvious and more exciting where you hunt.

Photoperiod is the Trigger– Photoperiod is the interval in a 24-hour period during which a plant or animal is exposed to light. Photoperiod is directly tied to growth, development, and seasonal behaviors in plants and animals.

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Joe Byers
Joe Byers has more than 1,000 magazine articles in print and is currently a field editor with Whitetail Journal, Predator Xtreme, Whitetails Unlimited, Crossbow Revolution, and African Hunting Journal magazines. He’s spent the last three decades depicting the thrill of the chase and photographing the majesty of all things wild. Byers is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and numerous other professional and conservation organizations.