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Ask The Biologist: When is the rut in Alabama?

Back To "Ask The Biologist?"QUESTION: I am a new hunter to the state of Alabama and would like to know the approximate rut dates. The area in question is Cleburne County in the east-central/northeast area of the state.
— Tyson

ANSWER: Tyson, I’m a little hesitant to answer your question for fear of opening the floodgates from folks in all the other states with white-tailed deer. However, because you asked nicely, and more importantly because I am currently working on a project for Buckmasters that involves documenting peak rut dates for all the whitetail states, I will answer, with some help from Chris Cook, Deer Studies Project Leader for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

When is the rut in Alabama?

First, in case you’re not already aware, peak breeding dates in Alabama are highly variable. “We have some areas with late November breeding and others with early to mid-December breeding,” says Cook, with most of the state’s peak breeding ranging from Christmas into the first week of February.

As chance would have it, Cook and his colleagues collected deer from Choccolocco WMA in Cleburne and Calhoun Counties this year. The average date of conception was December 10th. “This WMA was restocked in the 1940s with deer from North Carolina,” says Cook. “This is the main reason it has an earlier rut date. Most areas in Alabama were restocked in the 1950s and ’60s with deer from southwest Alabama.”

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