Every hunter anxiously anticipates arrival of the breeding season in their area. The rut provides deer behavior and activity that can make even the most tenured whitetail hunter’s heart race.
Many factors impact what we observe during the rut including the deer herd’s adult sex ratio and age structure,
density relative to the habitat’s carrying capacity, weather, amount of hunting pressure, and likely other variables
that we’re not aware of or at least don’t understand very well yet. Are lunar cycles responsible for cueing breeding in whitetails? The lunar-based model predicted the rut would be three weeks later in 2010 than 2009.
This isn’t to say that lunar cycles may not have some effect on deer behavior – just not on the actual timing of breeding. Fawns hitting the ground three weeks later than normal in 2011 would put them at a tremendous
The Maryland State Chapter QDMA and the Bachman Valley Branch QDMA started collecting fetal data in 2008 from does from crop damage permits (Deer Management Permits) DMP and Deer Population Managed Hunts. Our goal was to determine the peak of the rut in our state. This study expanded with the help and support from QDMA members and public land managers. In 2009 the study expanded to collect biological data from all deer harvested at locations where possible and not just does (female).
With the completion of the collection of 2010-11 data, we are able to start to compare three year trends in data. While some questions may start to get answered, others have arisen. We hope to continue this Maryland annual study and with funding, this may be possible. Data collection would not be possible without the hands on support from QDMA members, volunteers and public land managers.
Special thanks to:
All the volunteers and personnel working the managed hunts.
Cheri Winter, Maryland State Chapter & Bachman Valley Branch QDMA
Barry Harden, Maryland State Chapter & Bachman Valley Branch QDMA
Ray Tully, Maryland State Chapter & Bachman Valley Branch QDMA
Tommy Leach, Maryland State Chapter & Bachman Valley Branch QDMA
Roland Cox, Maryland State Chapter & Bachman Valley Branch QDMA
Andy Pederson, Nanjemoy, MD. QDMA
Director Maryland State Chapter QDMA
Advantage Whitetail Deer Management Inc.