Bob Humphrey is the Biology & Deer Behavior field editor for Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine and holds similar titles with other major hunting publications.
He currently lives in Maine with his wife and two children. For more information about Bob, visit his website at www.bobhumphrey.com.
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What A Difference A Day Makes
QUESTION: Is it true a white-tailed deer is only in heat for a brief 24 hours? — Linda C.
ANSWER: In most cases that’s fairly accurate. In order to conceive, a doe must be ready, willing and able. Heat or estrus is the brief period when a doe is ready to accept the advances of her male suitors and willing to “stand” and allow them to breed her.
This behavior is influenced by hormones, which also trigger ovulation, the period when a doe is physiologically able to conceive. Hormone levels begin rising several days prior to ovulation.
During this time a doe might smell ready to her suitors, and as ovulation draws closer she might even stand briefly, but conception will not take place until she ovulates. The peak release of hormones, and often a doe’s willingness to breed, typically lasts only about a day — 24 hours.