Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne White-tailed Deer and Rutting Season
Name: Steven
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

What causes the white tail deer to enter into the rut? What causes the white tail deer to exit out of the rut?

The breeding season for deer takes place in the late fall [exact timing varies by latitude], however, the preparation of the animals for the rutting season begins in the summer. The sex hormones are slowly increased over the preceding months and explains such things as the antler development in males and the preparation of the female reproductive track to maturate. The photoperiodism [amount of daylight] of the seasons probably governs this process and it most definitely biological, meaning genetic.

The hormone levels build up to a peak and at this time the female produces pheromones that attack the males; this will result in matings. The males are ready before this time, but are stimulated by these chemicals. After mating, the pheromone secretions stop and it is all over.

The reason is clear. Nature provides the deer birthing to take place in late May or early June [varies by latitude] whereby adequate food and cover is available to assure survival of the fawns.

Steve Sample

Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory