February is not the time for love in the deer world.  Bucks are shedding antlers and does are about half way through their pregnancy.  Everybody is just counting the days until spring.  I know I am!  For the shortest month of the year, February does seem to linger too long.  Perhaps that’s why someone stuck a “holiday” smack in the middle of it. 

No looks of love are being exchanged between deer right now.  The only time a doe can tolerate a buck and only time a buck is interested in a doe is during the rut and that was months ago.  The rut is an endless topic of conversation for those that pursue this species.  We have covered it time and again here on the Deer-Forest blog from behaviors to weather to movements.  We have written no less than 16 posts about the rut and I probably missed some.  Not counting the crew diaries, almost 6% of blog posts are dedicated to deer breeding activities.  

Why this fascination with the love life of deer?  If I had to speculate, it’s related to antlers and hunting.  Humans have an unhealthy obsession with antlers (did I mention shed hunting season is upon us!?!).  The rut is antler unveiling season.  After months wrapped up in velvet, they are polished and on display.  Antlers and testosterone and sparring and chasing – the rut has it all.   

The rut is also the precursor to the highly anticipated hunting season.  Hunters have been dreaming for months about going out into the woods in search of THAT buck.  After months of scouting and trail cam photo studying, you get to do some chasing.  Can you outsmart the biggest buck in the woods?  If you have followed the blog for a while, you know the odds aren’t in your favor in this endeavor.  But hope springs eternal.  

So deer aren’t exchanging valentines today and most hunters are depressed as the season is soundly over for another year.  

But there is some deer love in the air…for our crews anyway.  They love cold weather and just a bit of snow.  They hope to meet that special cervid so they can give some jewelry to their favorite valentine.  

-Jeannine Fleegle
Wildlife Biologist
PGC Deer and Elk Section

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