Rutting Mule Deer

November and the Mule Deer rut is on! Our Mule Deer and Whitetail are the last of our big game animals to go through the annual breeding season rituals. The action starts the end of October with the bucks starting to check does for any signs of coming in heat. In early November, the rut goes into full swing and can even last into early December.


The Mule Deer bucks go into the rut fat and sassy but its not long before they start losing the body weight. As the rut progresses the bucks travel constantly trying to find the trail of a hot doe. Covering this much country causes them to drop the body weight, along with not taking the time to eat. By the end of the rut, the bucks look gaunt and often have ribs showing. Once the rut ends it’s a short window of time that the bucks have to recover the lost body weight and get ready to survive winter.

Mule Deer are not aggressive deer even during the breeding season. Its not uncommon to see several bucks working a single hot doe. It’s rare to see buck mule deer lock antlers and fight. They seem to prefer to lift their heads into the air and show off the size of their racks to competitors. 

Mule deer don’t gather harems like Antelope and bull Elk do. Doe Mule Deer will hang with a small group of does and fawns all fall. The bucks travel constantly checking the bands of does for a receptive female. Once the doe is breed, then he’s off again looking for the next doe to be bred.

Our hunting strategy this time of year is to find these bands of does and then check them each day. If a doe is in estrus, she does the work of bringing the bucks to her. We hunt all day long and we often find single bucks cold trailing in the middle of the day.

It’s an exciting time to watch and observe mule deer but an even more exciting time to hunt them. Give our office a call when you are ready to book your own November Mule Deer hunt!