how to Predict the Whitetail Rut in May and June

How to Predict the Whitetail Rut in May and June

Scrapes, rubs, grunts, and the clash of antlers echoing through the timber is a tale-tale sign of the whitetail rut.  However, what if I told you the timing of the whitetail rut doesn’t involve the testosterone-filled crisp fall mornings but late spring or early summer?

If you pay close attention to the timing of fawns being born in your area, it can predict the precise timing of the whitetail rut in your neck of the woods.  Here’s how.

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Whitetail Rut Theory

Everyone has a theory about the timing of the whitetail rut, whether it be the moon phase, length of daylight, or historical data.  Some experts have even devoted their entire lives to studying and predicting the timing of the whitetail rut.  It’s not uncommon to hear the phrase trickle rut or peak rut as they argue their point as to how the best predictor of the whitetail.

Regardless of which theory you believe about predicting the timing of the whitetail rut, this method is the only sure-fire way to predict when the rut takes place in your neck of the woods.

What is the Best Day of the Whitetail Rut?

When is the Whitetail Rut?

In the southern reaches of the whitetail’s range, you can see evidence of rutting activity as early as July in Texas and Florida, while the majority of the whitetail’s range see’s rutting activity occurring in October and November.  It’s not uncommon for breeding to take place in December and January as well.

But deer can’t read a calendar, so how do they know when the rut is going to be?

when will the rut be

How Do Whitetails Know When the Rut Is?

So how do bucks and does know when the rut is going to be?  Regardless of what hunters think about the timing of the rut, science tells us that the rut is entirely controlled by photoperiodism. Photoperiodism is the length of daylight hours and as they shorten, it is believed to trigger the pituitary gland to release hormones and prepare the deer’s bodies for breeding.  A mix of testosterone and estrogen., which fuels the whitetail rut.  So, this makes the whitetail rut predictive based off of historical data.  It’s even easier when you can look back from the date that whitetail fawns are born and backdate it.

3 Whitetail Rut Locations for Hunting in the Midwest

How Long is the Whitetail Rut?

If you graphed out the rut, you would see that the breeding activity looks like a Bell curve.  Where it starts slow and increases to a peak and then slowly declines.  The length of time may vary, but you’ll be surprised how early in the hunting season some does are bred, as well as how late in the season.  The rut that we traditionally see is approximately three weeks in length.  During this time, the majority of the whitetail does are bred.

So, How Can You Predict The Whitetail Rut in May and June?

When are fawns born?  Most fawns start dropping in May or June.  Regardless of the area that you’re in, the best predictor of the whitetail rut is by backdating the time of conception from the day of birth.  The gestational period for whitetail deer is 200 days.  Knowing this information, we can figure out the peak time frames of the whitetail rut.  Recently, I recorded a podcast with HuntStand and they have a Pro Whitetail plan that unlocks data from every state that all whitetail hunters should be utilizing.  It includes the following:

  • All HuntStand Pro Maps
  • All HuntStand Pro Features and Tools
  • 15-Day Whitetail Activity Forecast
  • Peak Whitetail Movement Times
  • Annual Rut Map (U.S. only)
  • Whitetail Habitat Map (U.S. only)

This data was derived with the help of Brian Murphy, former president of the QDMA, who now works for HuntStand.  Brian worked with each state across the country to gather data on when fawns are born in each state, helping create the best predictor of the whitetail rut that we have available.  Regardless of your opinion of when the whitetail rut begins or ends, this is the only proven method to predict the timing of the whitetail.  The only issue with this method is that it gives you last year’s timing of the whitetail rut. However, when we compile years of data, it creates a trend and this historical data can be put together to tell you exactly when the whitetail rut happens in your neck of the woods each and every year.

Regardless of your turkey gun of choice, I wish you the best of luck this spring, and be sure to tag Hunting Gear Deals on our social media pages with your photos from the field.

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