Does Temperature affect Timing of the Rut?

By Grant Woods,

  Filed under: ,

← Grant's AnswersAsk Grant


Hi Grant,

I have seen quite a few does that are dropping late this year.  I have also read that many others around the country (Midwest belt mainly) are seeing the same thing.  I know you and others have stated this is due to a herd imbalance caused by having too many does for the bucks to breed.  I know on our farm and the surrounding properties there is probably a 1:3 ratio and this would certainly be part of the problem.  I am curious if the heat we experienced during the rut last year could also have contributed to this?  Sure seems like an awfully good coincidence to me.

Thanks for answering my question.  Keep up the good work.



There have been multiple research projects that have compared actual conception and fawning dates of free-ranging deer (based on aging the deer fetuses from late harvested does) and several environmental factors such as temperatures, moon phase, etc.  These studies have shown that the majority of deer breed the same time each year if the herd’s population structure (age structure, adult sex ratio, etc.) doesn’t change.  Deer certainly may be a bit more active at night if the daytime temperatures are above normal, but they still want to find a date.

Growing Deer together,