If you’ve ever wondered “how long is a deer pregnant”, or “how quickly a faun can get to its feet”, then we’ve got the answer’s you need. Keep reading for some fun facts about the gestational cycle of a deer. As avid hunters, it’s important to make sure you understand your prey perfectly, and we’re here to help you do just that.
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So- Why Do I Need To Know This To Hunt?
If you’re wondering when you stepped from hunting ground to biology class, don’t worry! If you’re a keen hunter, you may have already realised that the famous, fabled ‘rut’, the very thing you have to time so perfectly to your goals, is in fact the breeding season for the deer.
Not only is it a useful time for you to get back into the field with your gun, but it’s also the time of year does are preparing for pregnancy- and the full antler bucks you crave for your wall get a little silly.
Why Is The Rut So Important To Hunters?
While summer is lazy in the world of any deer species, fall is the busiest time of the year. If you’ve done your homework in the field, you’ll notice that at other times of the year does and bucks tend to graze separately. Come fall, they’ll begin to mingle so the does can see the antlers on the available buck.
Not only that, but the does are eating well in preparation for pregnancy. In fact, you’ll often notice does look at their best in fall, getting prepared to feed themselves and the developing fawn through the harsh cold of winter.
What Happens In The Rut?
A white-tailed deer, the most common prize of US hunters, can come into season as early as 7 months, although many will delay until the next breeding season too. If you’re keen to hunt at the start of the rut, look out for does under a year and does without fawns, as these tend to come into heat the earliest.
Doe are masters at escaping the unwanted attention of buck, standing still only for the deer they choose to breed with. This is usually the buck with the most impressive antlers- a sign of age and genetic superiority in a dog-eat-dog natural world.
What Happens To The Does Next?
You’ll find that fawn season is later the more North you go, even within the continental US, simply so that the fawns are not exposed to the harsh cold as much as possible. Fawn season is, however, generally about two months. This handy rut date reference site will help you track averages for your specific area.
There’s a science to ‘predicting’ the best days in the rut to take a big buck that’s too involved for this article. If you’d like to look into the phenomena more, this educational article about the best hunting days of the rut is a good place to start.
How Long Is A Deer Pregnant? Should I Worry?
After the rut ends, the doe will remain pregnant for anywhere between 180 and 200 days, species dependant. White-tail officially are pregnant for 201 days by most scientific literature. Obviously there is variance in this depending on the individual doe herself. If you’d like to look more in-depth into the fascinating world of the white-tailed deer, then this exhaustive guide to the White tail will prove an invaluable study companion for you.
Remember that there is often restrictions on the hunting of pregnant deer and what is and isn’t allowed, so it’s always best to check your state legislation. If you’ve never seen a pregnant doe before, this video of two pregnant does will be useful to you.
Here’s another great video of a pregnant deer so you know what to watch out for.
What is the Gestation Period for Red Deer?
Gestation length in red deer is anywhere from 264-305 days long. Red deer typically produce between 1 and 5 offspring per year, with 1-2 being the average. One of the reasons for this difference is the variance in gestation lengths. The longer a fetus develops inside its mother, the more developed it will be when it’s born and ready to survive on its own.
Does This Make Me A Better Hunter?
The many and varied deer species, especially our beloved white tail, are fascinating beasts. Understanding how the rut, pregnancy and fawning of a deer effects their seasonal patterns and habits is a critical part of bagging that trophy hunt you crave so…ahem… deerly, so taking the time to understand their habits can be of considerable use to the hunter in the field.
And remember, if you’re looking for an ideal companion in your quest for knowledge, White Tail Savvy offers invaluable advice for you.
Happy hunting, and let us know in the comments how your critter-savvy knowledge has helped bag you results in the field!