Looking for information about the deer rut in Georgia? Be sure to visit the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division statewide rut map (www.georgiawildlife.com/rut-map) for information.
“Each fall, a constant question we receive at our office is ‘when is the peak of the rut?’” said Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist with the Game Management Section. “Last year, we were able to provide a newly updated rut map to help hunters pinpoint the best times to be in the woods during deer season.”
What is the “rut?” This refers to the breeding season for white-tailed deer, which can vary at the local scale, especially in areas that experience southern climates like Georgia. During the peak of the rut, a large percentage of female deer are ready to be bred and become much more active, increasing their daily movement and home range size. Additionally, male deer will move more frequently and longer distances as they seek out female deer.
Why do hunters like to know when the peak of the rut happens? More deer movement increases the chance to observe more deer, thereby increasing a hunter’s odds of seeing and potentially harvesting a deer.
So, how do you develop a map that correlates to a deer’s reproductive cycle? The greater movement by both male and female deer caused by this natural cycle also results in more deer traveling across roadways, making them more susceptible to being hit by motor vehicles.
This knowledge led to a partner effort between the University of Georgia, WRD and Georgia Department of Transportation through which historical deer conception data and deer movement data from other ongoing studies was pooled. Researchers found a strong correlation between peak deer-vehicle collisions, deer conception dates, and hourly movement rates of GPS-collared deer. Therefore, deer-vehicle collisions were used as an index of deer movement to map the peak dates of deer movement throughout the state.
Thank you for buying a hunting license! State-managed public hunting lands are funded through a combination of state license fees and matching federal funds from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services’ Wildlife Restoration Program. Hunters account for $977 million in retail sales in Georgia each year with a $1.6 billion ripple effect and almost 24,000 jobs.
Want a preview of what to expect during deer archery season? A brand new video is available at www.youtube.com/georgiawildlife/videos . Be on the lookout for more deer videos as the season progresses.