Does will be bred no matter how long it takes.
QUESTION: I live just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, and about an hour ago, which was 5:30 (Feb. 10), I looked out back in my yard and watched a big buck grunting and chasing a smaller doe. What’s up with that? – Mike W.
ANSWER: Most, but not all does are bred sometime during the initial rut, which in your part of the world probably spans from late October to late November. Those not bred will cycle again 28 days later.
Sometimes, usually in areas with very good nutrition, doe fawns will also enter estrus their first fall, and this often occurs during the second rut. While it is less common, it is possible that does not bred during either of the first two rut periods could cycle again.
And while most does enter estrus and are bred within a relatively narrow window of time, there are always outliers. If a doe were to enter her first estrus, say, in early December, and was not bred, she would come into estrus again in early January, and then early February.
There’s also another possibility. In the animal kingdom there is sometimes a fine line between love and hate. In fact, does are often injured by their suitors during the rut. As the breeding season winds down and hormones wane, a buck might get a little surge of energy, but not quite know what to do with it, so he’ll instinctively chase a doe, or a button buck or buck that has shed its antlers. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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