What Does Do Bucks Mate?

John K. from Wyoming asks the following. “Since we now know that some young bucks mate does, my question is, do those young bucks just mate young does or do they mate more mature does as well?”

Dr. Dave Samuel
Dr. Dave Samuel

Good question John. You are right. We now know that although much of the mating is done by mature, dominant bucks, all bucks regardless of age, do some mating.

Of course, in states where the buck harvest is 90 percent on yearling bucks (and there are such states), this means there are very few older bucks out there and so the yearling bucks do most of the mating.

However, where the sex ratio is closer to a 1-to-1 situation, we have older bucks out there. So the question then becomes, do those yearling bucks that do some mating, do it because the older bucks only mate older does, leaving young does for the young bucks to mate?

Recent research done in Texas shows that yearling bucks and the older, mature bucks all successfully mate with does of all ages. The yearling bucks breed, for the most part, at the peak of the breeding season when the mature bucks are busy with other does. When the mature buck tends a doe, then a yearling can come in and mate a doe.

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Dr. Dave writes a weekly column for 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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