Bucks: More Fat Means More Time To Mate

Charles A. from Oklahoma writes to ask about older bucks mating does. “It seems to me that the older bucks should be dominant to young bucks and do the mating, yet lately I’m hearing that young bucks mate does a lot. What determines which bucks will mate does?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

With DNA we are learning which bucks mate does. And you are right, we are finding that yearling bucks and 2-year-olds do about one-third of the mating. But we are also learning that there are other variables that affect which bucks mate does. For example, researchers have just learned that the amount of fat a buck has entering the rut, determines the hours he spends chasing does, versus the hours he spends eating. 

A 175-pound healthy, mature buck in Texas has 44 pounds of body fat entering the rut, and this means he saves 6.75 hours a day of foraging time, to chase does. The more fat, the less he has to eat. Less time eating means more time breeding does. In addition, we are also learning that bucks are individuals. Some rut hard, others don’t. It’s all a bit complicated, yet that is what makes hunting them so challenging. 

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for sportsmansguide.com. If you have a question for Dr. Dave, e-mail your question to Dr. Dave in care of Tom Kacheroski, manager of Guide Outdoors & Social Content at www.sportsmansguide.com to tkachero@sportsmansguide.com. Dr. Dave studied deer for 30 years as a wildlife management professor at West Virginia University. In addition he has been a bowhunter for over 40 years, with deer being his main prey. He’s also an outdoor writer and has been with “Bowhunter” magazine for 31 years.

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