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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Bucks finding themselves in rut

STILLWATER, Okla. – Don’t tell Walt Disney, but it is no accident deer hunting season is in the fall in Oklahoma.

“Bambi got it wrong. (In the movie) the deer were courting in the spring. They actually do this in the fall,” said Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist. “When the does come into estrous, the bucks only have one thing on their mind.”

It is the urge to breed that leads to more productive hunting during November.

“Bucks will take more risks, get in fights with rivals and do riskier things, such as expose themselves during daylight hours,” said Elmore. “It’s generally easier to kill bucks, especially mature bucks, during the rut.”

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will have a pretty good idea of how the harvest will go after the first weekend of the season. Due to the mandatory check stations, the ODWC keeps track of the total number of deer checked during the season.

“The biggest harvest is always on the opening weekend of the deer gun season,” Elmore said. “However, the weather can have an impact. This time of year, we could get anything.”

This deer gun season opens on Saturday, Nov. 19 and the weather conditions are looking better with cooler temperatures in the forecast.

“Your ideal hunting weather is crisp, cold, dry and low wind,” Elmore said. “Warm weather makes it more stressful for deer to move and they often limit activity to the cooler times of the day.”


Sean Hubbard
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
157 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4490
Fax: 405-744-5739

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078