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The ‘Rut’ Is Upon Us

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Late September marks beginning of rut season — the breeding period — for the omnipresent whitetail deer in Canyon Lake.

The rut can be especially dangerous for Canyon Lake residents and their pets. Whitetail deer here are hand-fed at area lodges and graze freely in just about everyone’s backyard.

Residents throughout the area and the state are urged to exercise caution while driving, and to avoid any interaction with deer, who become more aggressive from late September through early next year. This mean they’re fairly unafraid of humans, which makes cross-species interaction — discouraged by Texas Parks and Wildlife at any time of the year — riskier than usual.

Also, car-deer collisions in Texas spike in late fall because bucks have just one thing on their minds — and it isn’t highway safety, Consumer Insurance Guide warns.

Deer are a year-round threat to pets anyway in Canyon Lake, but the rut makes bucks even more aggressive.

Bucks also like to sharpen their horns in anticipation of inevitable fighting over mates. Many residents protect trees by wrapping their bases with wire meshing.

Between 2015-16, there were an estimated four million whitetails in Texas, with 2.27 of those living in the Hill Country. That number was expected throughout 2016 due to adequate rainfall earlier in the year.

Deer densities in the Edwards Plateau are highest in the state, at 117 per 1,000 acres.

According to this chart provided for hunters Texas Parks and Wildlife’s website “the rut” on the Edwards Plateau begins in late September and winds down in January. Hunting websites like wiredtohunt.com dedicate entire sections to rut predictions.

According to information by Quality Deer Management Association,“Scientists have known for decades that the length of daylight each day, which fluctuates throughout the seasons, serves as the trigger for hormone changes in deer that bring on breeding and the rut – though the timing of the trigger varies widely in different regions and deer populations for several other reasons. But stories persist among hunters that the moon plays a role.”

So watch the moon and protect pets. Wrap trees and most importantly — drive carefully.

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