If you’ve spent any time on social media you may have heard non-hunters tell you that the deer you just killed “had a family”! The truth is buck deer are horrible fathers!
Let’s take a look at a buck deer’s habits throughout the year and see if anyone thinks they’d get the father of the year award.
Late Winter – Early Spring
During this time most bucks can be found by themselves or in small bachelor groups recovering from the rut. They spend next to zero time with the does they just spent two months chasing all over the country. Rather they spend most of their time eating and resting and maybe “hanging out with the boys.”
Late Spring – Summer
As the temperatures warm, buck deer transition into a full-time bachelor’s life. Most bucks can be found in herds with other bucks. During this time, much of the buck’s time is spent feeding with the other bucks throughout the night and sleeping throughout the day. Essentially, the summer is like a “college frat party” every day for the bucks. Except it happens every summer that the buck is alive.
During the early fall, the majority of bucks disappear from the bachelor’s life. They head for thicker cover to hide from hunters and predators. They also spend most of their away from other bucks and does in the area. Likewise, this is the time that they really gear up for the rut, also known as the breeding season. Maybe it’s just me but that doesn’t sound like they are being very good fathers.
Late Fall – Early Winter (The Rut)
During the roughly two months that the rut lasts, bucks spend pretty much every waking hour trying to find does to breed. They fight the same friends they spent the spring and summer with for control of the does. They chase and breed any does that they can find. Zero thought is given to the does or the fawns that they sired last year. Finding some lovin’ is the instinct that drives them through this time of year. Essentially, for the bucks, the rut is a never-ending nightclub party. Most human fathers would be condemned for this type of behavior.
As stated above, once the rut is over, the bucks leave their newly impregnated girlfriends to fend for themselves for the rest of the year, once again proving that deer are horrible fathers.
This article is meant it be a fun, tongue-in-cheek, type article. However, it does have one real purpose. We need to stop looking at animals through the lens of human society. Human society demands different things from fathers than animals and wildlife do. Most hunters and outdoors people know this and see the differences. However, many who have never truly experienced wildlife and wild places have a skewed view of what does or should happen out there.
I appreciate you reading this fun little article. If you love mule deer like me I’d strongly suggest you look into the Winter Range Foundation. They are a great new organization looking to protect critical winter range areas for mule deer and other wildlife. You can click here to be taken to their webpage. Likewise, you can read more about mule deer news and information by going to our mule deer page. This can be done by clicking here.