Deer activity increases as breeding season begins

With deer breeding season underway, drivers in Westlake and Bay Village should be extra careful due to bucks’ erratic behavior. Photo by Denny Wendell

Fall means changing leaves, earlier nights and lots of activity for the local white-tailed deer. For them, fall is breeding season.

Male deer, or bucks, frequently live together in bachelor groups during the summer season. In early October, as they prepare for breeding, bucks can be found scraping the ground to mark their territory and rubbing their antlers on trees. Their necks will swell in size and grow very muscular allowing them to become a greater opponent to another buck and to better protect a doe. The bachelor groups will break up as levels of testosterone and aggression soar.

Breeding season (also called a rut) begins in late October and runs through mid-November. During this time bucks become focused so much on breeding they often forego eating and their behavior can become very erratic. It is because of this unpredictable activity that drivers should be especially aware of deer on the road. Another rut can occur in early December and is often shorter and more intense.

After breeding, bucks will return to their bachelor groups. Fawns conceived in the fall breeding season will be born in June or July of the following year.

Those interested in learning more about white-tailed deer are invited to Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s Backyard Wonders program on Sunday, Oct. 11, at 3 p.m. Tim Jasinski, wildlife rehabilitation specialist, will cover the life of the White-tailed Deer through the seasons: late winter bucks dropping their antlers, fawns born in spring, summer buck bachelor groups and the fierce breeding season in November. Admission is $7/person for the hourlong program. Advance registration is available through or 440-871-2900 but is not required.

Wendy Hanna

Wendy Hanna is a staff member with Lake Erie Nature & Science Center

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Volume 7, Issue 19, Posted 10:14 AM, 10.06.2015