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Deer mating season is on!

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Autumn rutting (deer mating) season is full of passions, competition, and exhaustion.

rut season stag roar

At the beginning of the rut, males fight with an 'imaginary enemy' - butting the ground with the smell of another male. They dig a hole in the ground and wallow in it, leaving their own scent. Bucks also attack bushes and grass with their antlers, hanging dry plant residues on them - to intimidate the enemy and give themselves charm in the eyes of females, by making their antlers look bigger. 

Of course, on the farm, we have to cut their deadly weapons, to keep them safe from each other.

First we see bucks 'sampling' hinds urine. They'd come right up to the peeing hind, or to the spot where they've just observed she'd peed, and have a taste of urine. They'd then stand for a few seconds with an open mouth like so:

deer probing urine

Then come the roaring and fights between the bucks.

But just as in "Highlander" - there can be only one. One winner takes it all. Well, almost. The outsider stags might get lucky in the very end, when the dominant buck is too worn out to keep chasing competitors away.

Females at this time carefully watch their male counterparts. The males are evaluated and the best is chosen. 

Well, on the farm, we provide the lucky buck :) He'll be the biggest and strongest and will get to mate with all the does he wants.

When the winning (sire) stag emerges, he starts 'patrolling' his territory and roaring 

You can observe that in the following videos:

Stag herding hinds

Chasing and getting them all in one spot as he awaits for them to start cycling.

Stag begins roaring

This happens within a few days after herding and means the hinds are now "in heat".

A couple loud roars

A short, closer footage of sire stag running around and grunting.

During these days stag's sexual appetite overpowers hunger resulting in him running on stored body fat as he stops eating, refusing food even if thrown right under his nose. It's all mating, roaring, and chasing away competition, who keep trying to mate with the hinds when the dominant stag is not looking. They were once seen forming a gang of 3 and chasing a hind around. Whatever that resulted in remains a bit of a mystery.

Rut is no easy matter | Stag exhausted from mating

A visually taxing endeavor. Also, audibly! A few days into the rut, not only is the poor guy limping, showing ribs, but also his voice is getting awfully hoarse to the point of being completely mute.

But don't worry, the big boy is going to be just fine in a couple of days after he starts eating again.

This is also the time when wild stags from around the area become sex-crazed enough to force their way into the farm, hoping to get a chance to mate with the numerous hinds roaming around. Unfortunately for them, all they're bound to become is dinner, as we have to protect our breeding stag. He'd have no chance against the intruder with full blown antlers.

Currently, the big buck is happily eating again, not roaring but when smaller stags see him they still run away or at least retreat a few meters. 

Last modified 2021-03-21 at 16:20

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