Ok, the other thread got me thinking & I didn’t want to high jack the thread. I have always been told when there are no more un-bred female does in a buck’s home range, his testosterone levels fall causing his crown of antlers to loosen and drop.
My question is this: Does a buck lose all interest in mating when the antlers fall off?? Or will he engage a ready female without his horns and go about his duty none the less?? Who can answer this question? Curious Josh
All deer species have antlers...semantics...horns are not shed.
How would a buck possibly know if all the does in his home range are bred or not? And biologists no longer think bucks really have a home range in the breeding sense.
I think a bettet hypothesis is T levels drop due to extreme stress or injury.
More mature bucks now, more competition, more intense rut. More bucks shedding. This was an early rifle season. Just wait until next year its over a week later.
Last rifle buck I shot was half rack and he shed that side on his death run. He didn't have am ounce of fat on him. Completely ragged from the rut. Nature's way of putting his survival over chasing a late cycling fawn or two.
I believe a buck is capable of breeding whether he still has his antlers or not. The antlers are sometimes required to win the breeding rights but the buck can still get the job done without his antlers if he doesn't have to win that right from a buck that still has antlers.
I have 8 bucks hitting my feeder. 4 of them are spikes and Ys. One is a 6, two are 7s, and 2 are 8s. The spikes and Ys are still holding, the rest have dropped. Dont know what it means, just an observation.
The old mature bucks shed early around here. A lot of them before the first of the year. That being said, my brother picked up a fresh spike the first Friday of rifle season. It was in a bed and on top of the snow. It seems they have been shedding earlier the past few years. The best rutting activity I saw this year was the last week of October.