Crazy Rut In Florida

Jeff S. from Georgia writes to ask about the peak of the rut. “I know that the timing of the rut doesn’t vary much across the northern part of the country, but it can vary in the South. A friend of mine hunts one area in Northwest Florida along the Gulf Coast. He says that on two properties that are only 40 miles apart the peak of the rut differs by over two months. Is this possible?”

Dr. Dave Samuel

Actually in that part of Florida it not only is possible, it does happen. Data shows that when you go from the West to the East along the Gulf Coast of Florida, the peak of the rut varies a great deal. In the western portion of that panhandle the rut is in mid-February. In the eastern portion the peak of the rut is in mid-October. The farther West you go, the later the rut. It’s crazy and it gets even crazier!

In one small area of southern Florida, breeding occurs as early as July! Biologists don’t know what causes this variation, but one suggestion is that deer were brought in from various southern states and this may have an affect on peak of the rut in areas where those deer were released years ago.

We’d like to hear your comments. Let us know what you think. Be sure to visit Sportsman’s Guide for the latest assortment of hunting gear.

Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for 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 over 31 years.

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