Posts tagged: rut
WILDLIFE WATCHING — The whitetail deer antler shed season has begun, according to Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson.
Deer, moose and elk will be dropping their antlers one at a time through February to make room on their heads for next season's crop of what I understand is the fastest-growing tissue among mammals.
Velvet sprouts will be evident in May and the new antlers will be in full velvet bloom in August before the blood flow dries up and they start hardening.
The big bulls and bucks then will rub off the velvet and polish the antlers as they rake brush and saplings in preparation for the rut.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Two whitetail bucks that locked their antlers in battle near Liberty Lake during the rutting season set the stage for a ghoulish drama video that's gone viral on YouTube.
Pete Caruso of Spokane and Eric Martin of Colbert were heading out toward Mica to hunt predators on Nov. 15 when they spotted three coyotes feeding on what they initially thought was a gut pile — until a buck rose up from the bloody melee.
The coyotes were chewing on the haunches of a dead buck whose antlers were locked with a buck that was still very much alive and struggling futilely to break away. The dead buck had died, possibly of a broken neck, in what must have been one heck of a battle for mating dominance that night.
After spooking away the coyotes and sizing up the situation, the two hunters and two other men moved in to help. They risked harm from the still-alive buck's flying hooves and sharp antler points as they struggled to unlock the entangled antlers.
Caruso captured the ordeal on video as one unidentified man sat on the bloody, mangled carcass of the dead buck to give Martin and the other man more leverage for twisting the antlers apart.
The best part of the video comes at the end, when the freed buck sprints away, offering a classic whitetail leap as if to say “Yahoo!” as it disappears over the horizon.
“Eric and I are starting working to start an outdoorsman video club for hunting and wildlife action clips,” Caruso said.
This video clip of Martin using a decoy and predator call to lure a cougar into close range is an example. Check out the look on the cougar's face when it senses it's been had.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Two Vancouver Island blacktail bucks put on a show in a Nanaimo, British Columbia, neighborhood a few days ago as they battled for dominance during the rut — the deer mating season.
HUNTING — Although the story in the video doesn't totally add up, this footage illustrates the power and violence two rutting mule deer bucks devote to battle — even if one of the bucks is dead.
The hunters probably picked up a rifle sooner for self defense just in case the attacking buck decided they were worth fighting, too.
A mule deer buck is a big load to pack around, but this buck whips his deceased foe around as though it were a rag doll.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Here's a rut report from eagle-eye Curlew resident Foster Fanning to go with his photo, above:
Pursuing passions in the wild…
Had a unique opportunity to watch a whitetail stag in courtship with a young doe Friday. A ruckus in the cottonwood grove across the Kettle River from my home caught our attention. Three whitetail deer were running, the does flashing the ‘danger’ signal they are named for. Watching for a moment we sorted out that a large four-point male was in pursuit of one of the young does.
They had dashed down off the river bank, splashing through the shallows and across the gavel bar. The doe managed to double back and before the buck realized and changed direction she had again jumped off the river bank and made her way under a hanging rootwad and rapidly dropped to the ground and went completely still and silent. The buck caught her scent and doubled back himself but ended up momentarily losing track of the subject of his lust. He walked the riverbank sniffing the air.
About that time I had set up camera and tripod in my yard across the river. The buck as well as pursued doe, now in hiding, took note of me. My presence wasn’t enough to throw him off the chase, but things slowed quite a bit.
I caught this image of the courtship, showing part of the story; the buck in pursuit, the doe in hiding and the proximity of their courtship. End of the story, as far as we could see was the doe springing to her feet and fleeing into the brush, almost tempting the buck with how close she passed to him. Of course, he took off in hot pursuit.
It will give me a pause to wonder when I view next year’s spotted fawns if maybe, just maybe…
HUNTING — While elk hunting in the Blue Mountains last week, I saw whitetails at elevation 5400 feet — and I also saw several scrapes.
But Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson saw more than that on Thursday.
We spent most of yesterday chasing whitetails. We noticed several does with roughed up back hair. We also saw several bucks whose necks were swollen and witnessed several jousting. It was raining off and on, but we stuck with it and ended up with over a hundred good images!
The large buck was pretty messed up – he was kicking everyone’s butt. We affectionately called him Duke (he walked sideways like John Wayne and didn’t take crap from anyone).
HUNTING — Just in time for the the big-game rifle seasons, the elk rut is winding down and the big bulls will be slinking away from their harems to recover and hide in thick dark woods — wherever they can avoid attention from huners and wolves.
Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson caught the the bull above in September, during the peak of its glory — and vulnerability.
Now the bull's world is all about surviving through winter.
WILDLIFE — In case you had any doubts about the elk mating season being in full swing, Montana wildlife photographer Jaime Johnson offers this photographic evidence.
Notice I didn't say this is image is proof. After all, hitch-hiking is legal in Montana.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — The party's over for elk. Bull moose have given up on the girls. Deer are losing their urges and getting serious about consuming enough calories to endure the winter.
Meanwhile, bighorn sheep are getting it on.
December is the peak of the rut for the masters of rock ledges, as the males earn their names by ramming heads together to determine who's the fittest to breed.
The bighorn ram pictured above is lip-curling at the beginning of December much as the whitetail buck was as it entered its peak of breeding in November.
Wildlife photographer Jaime Johnson of Lincoln, Mont., captured the similar behavior of both animals with his camera.
When bucks or rams come to where a doe or ewe has urinated, they often curl their lips to trap the female's odor in their nose and mouth and analyze the scent for clues to the female's estrus stage.
BOWHUNTING — Idaho archers have about two weeks to shop for a whitetail buck before Christmas.
Rutting activity lingers in the West as Idaho Panhandle bowhunters take their last shot in a season that opens Saturday in selected units and runs through Dec. 24.
They're too late for a chance at the bruiser pictured above, taken by Spokane dog trainer Dan Hoke at the edge of a clearcut near Lake Pend Oreille while the rut was still hot and heavy just before the rifle seasons ended.
But hunters and wildlife watchers are seeing more of the same across the region. In fact, bucks in some areas appear to be in a peak phase of covering ground.
In Eastern Washington, where most of the archery buck hunting opportunity will end Dec. 15, Brandon Enevold of Spokane says bucks are still defending areas in pursuit of late-estrus does.
Read on for his recent field observations and those of a local farmer
HUNTING — The fat lady has sung for deer hunting seasons in Montana and for rifle hunters in Idaho, but late seasons are still giving hunters a few shots at whitetails in designated areas of eastern Washington.
And the rut's still on to some degree throughout the region.
Remember, the Nov. 20-21 peak of whitetail conceptions pegged by research in the northwestern states is only the top of the bell curve. As we move into the holidays, the season's breedings are on the downhill slope, but there's still action out there for bucks — and hunters.
The Idaho archery hunts open Dec. 10.
With just days remaining in most of the eastern Washington late bowhunting seasons, Chris van Kempen tagged the nice wall-hanger above by taking advantage of the buck's lingering desire to make sure every doe is bred and every competitor is challenged.
“I went out this afternoon got into my stand and did a few rattling sets,” he reported Friday. “On the third set, I was able to rattle this buck in to 30 yards! It was awesome I was only in the stand for about a hour and 20 min.”
Yes, I have the urge to kick Chris out of jealousy, too — but not before giving him a high-five.
WILDLIFE WATCHING — Few images capture the power and fury of the September bull elk bugling season better than this video posted on YouTube by Yellowstonemedia. Turn up your speakers and enjoy.
HUNTING — It’s down to the wire for Eastern Washington rifle hunters trying to put their crosshairs on a whitetail buck. The late season ends Friday. Idaho hunters have through Dec. 1 in some areas.
But while time’s waning, you have one thing on your side: The rut is in full swing and big bucks are moving, even in the daylight.
Big bucks locked on to receptive does can be vulnerable simply because their guard is down.
But some hunters elect to be pro-active, using rattling techniques to lure bucks into the open. Here are some timely tips from Texas deer hunting expert James Kroll, a.k.a Dr. Deer: