Deer Rut: What It Is and How It Can Affect You This Time of the Year

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Deer “rut” is the period of time when deer breed. People often ask biologists when the rut is going to occur. It’s a question biologists commonly hear in the fall. Many hunters want to make sure that they plan hunting vacations to include that magical time when bucks lose all caution and deer are moving.

Timing of Rut Varies By Location

mating deer

Photo: Flickr/drburtoni

Texas Parks and Wildlife explains that the timing of whitetail rut varies by locations within the state. The earliest whitetail breeding in the state happens in the Gulf Prairies and Marshes, typically beginning in late August and lasting through November. The Hill Country typically sees deer rut beginning in October and lasting through January. The latest rut in the state takes place in the South Texas Plains, beginning in November through February.

Normally, when it’s mating season for most other animals, it doesn’t affect our lives much but with deer, rut can cause bucks to run out in front of cars on busy highways. Texas Parks and Wildlife says that, like most male mammals, deer seem to lose a lot of their natural caution when the scent of a receptive female is in the air.

According to the Insurance Journal, Texas leads all other states in motorist who have been killed in vehicle-animal collisions. Texas also has the largest deer population in the country. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the state’s abundant wildlife and additional traffic have made Texas the most hazardous state for vehicle-animal crashes every year since 2000.

Watch For Deer This Time of the Year

deer road
Photo: Flickr/Starley Shelton

Several roadways in Texas are more dangerous than others, but Texas Parks and Wildlife officials say deer are moving into areas all over the state. In recent years in Kerr County alone, Texas Department of Transportation employees removed more than 1,500 dead deer off of the county’s roadways.

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