I don't know about the area that you hunt but in Athens the second rut was going hard and heavy the last week.
I watched 3 different bucks make scrapes this week and saw bucks fighting everyday. I saw a minimum of 20 different bucks, from spikes to 130 class in 4 days and many of these were bucks that I had never seen before. Many of these bucks were in groups of 2 -5 bucks with the smaller ones pushing each other around while the dominant buck chased the yearlings.
It seemed to be the yearlings that the bucks were chasing.
My son missed on a deer that was a once in a lifetime buck that was with 2 other bucks and chasing some yearlings. He has killed some 140 class bucks and has never shot at a deer that he hasn't killed with one shot, he normally stays calm. He admitted that this deer had him shaking violently. You spend hundreds of hours over the years while hunting dreaming of the super buck that no one has ever seen stepping out for a shot and then it happens and you blow it, it made him literaly ill, and I felt and still feel terrible for him.
I saw a couple of bucks chasing small doe fawns last week. I saw a coule of bucks out running like they do when they are cruising for does. I told my buddy that I thought that the young does were in heat, but He didn't believe me.
Tell your son to hang in there. I blew chances at one of the biggest bucks that I had ever seen twice. Once with a bow because I wasn't paying attention, and a couple of weeks later in gun season. I was getting ready to shoot a doe that I thought had been jumped by another hunter. I had the saftey off, about to squeeze the trigger when I heard grunting. It was the buck that she was running from and he was on top of me before I knew it. I think that was the only time that I remember actually comming unglued while deer hunting. I hit a sapling about half way between me and the buck. I never saw him again.
I did a lot of research the last couple of days to try and explain all of the rut activity that I witnessed during the Muzzleloader season.
According to the experts.
Deer in Ohio come into estrus around the middle of November. The does are only receptive for a short 24 hour period. Not all does come in at exactly the same time so this process is spread out over a 2-3 week period. If not serviced during her first cycle she will come back in in 28 days. This second cycle or rut is very common in areas with high doe to buck ratios.
The gestation period for deer is about 6 1/2 months. This means that the majority of the fawns are born at the end of May. A deer almost always has just one fawn her first year and twins or even triplets are the norm for all following years.
Most does do not become sexually receptive until thier second year, however there is a percentage that become sexually receptive at 7 months of age. There is no exact science to determine how many of the 7 month old does become receptive, some years few, other years many. A doe born at the end of may would become 7 months old and potentially receptive at the end of December.
I know that any of you that have been hunting a while have seen an obviously younger and smaller fawn than than most of the other fawns. These are a result of a yearly doe become receptive and her fawn not being born until mid June.
This year must have been a banner year for yearly( 7 month old )does becoming receptive. I have never seen this level of rut activity at this time of year. This muzzleloader season it was a tremendous amount of fun to watch everything going on. Without a doubt one of my most enjoyable seasons ever, other than my son's misery it was almost perfect.
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