When is Deer Mating Season?

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Introduction

Members of the Cervidae family are mostly seasonal breeders. The deer mating season is between October and December, though for some species such as the Reindeer it may start as early as late August.

The deer mating season is the period with the highest number of deer related accidents. In the article Why Do Deer Jump on Cars, I have explained why the deer mating season is a reason for the increase in such incidents.

World Record Deer
World Record Deer

The calf’s survival mostly influences the timing of this season. Seasonal changes in climate and availability of food create a difference in the members of the Deer family. Some of the species begin their mating earlier than others, depending on their habitats. Males’ and Females’ behaviors, in regards to their anatomy, also influences the mating season.

Seasonality in Male Deer

The mating season in male species is known as “the rut’’ which usually occurs during October from the moment it sheds its antlers. Rutting ends after it separates the velvet coating from its antlers. In weak and young males, it may delay until December. 

Since bucks are daylight breeders, darkness increases their testosterone levels leading to the growth of their antlers. Semen production reduces as the buck grows its antlers significantly. The volume of ejaculation and sperm motility changes gradually from pre-mating, mating, and post-mating seasons.

Libido is highest at the end of September and early November, their semen quality is also highest at this period.

Different Phases of the Rut

During the rut, the deer display uni