Black-tailed Deer
Rutting Signs



During the rutting season, bucks rub their antlers on trees and plants. They also attack, or thrash, plants with their antlers. These signs can be found by the observant tracker. Some trees are used year after year. Others are just used because they are convenient.

Antler rubbing sign on tree. Photo copyright
                    Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
This tree was used the previous year as evidenced by the older scars (darker in color.) The most recent antler rubbing activity left the lighter scars in the bark.

Ground torn up in front of antler rubbing
                      sign on tree. Photo copyright Kim A. Cabrera

The tree above is seen at the top red arrow. The lower red arrow indicates the ground that was torn up in front of the tree by the hooves of the buck. These disturbances are easy to spot in forest leaf litter such at this.
Buck thrashing a plant with his antlers. Photo
                    copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
This buck picked a random plant and started thrashing it with his antlers. He kept it up for about five minutes. A curious yearling buck came over to look down the hill and watch this buck.
Buck thrashing a plant with his antlers. Photo
                    copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.
The buck kept digging and gouging at the plant with his antlers. Some branches were broken and bark was scraped off, all leaving signs that a tracker can find. When he was finished, he simply walked away.

Antler rub on bark. Photo copyright Kim A.
                      Cabrera 2008.

A tree with fresh antler rubbing scars. This tree was not used the previous year, but the tree that had been used, which grew right next to this one, had been cut down during the summer. So the buck used this smaller remaining tree instead.

Antler rub and gouge marks on bark. Photo
                      copyright Kim A. Cabrera 2008.

Fresh scars from antler rubbing and gouging on a tree next to a deer trail. This is a small Douglas fir tree.


For more deer signs, see the:

Main Deer Tracks and Signs page

Deer Feeding Signs page

Deer Scats page 1

Deer Scats Page 2



Find deer posters, greeting cards, postage stamps and more in my new store.

Visit my online store at:  Happy tracking!!

What else can you find in the nature store? Beartracker's T-shirts, sweatshirts, journals, book bags, toddler and infant apparel, mouse pads, posters, postcards, coffee mugs, travel mugs, clocks, Frisbees, bumper stickers, hats, stickers, and many more items. All with tracks or paw  prints, or nature scenes. Custom products are available. If you don't see the track you want on the product you want, email me and I can probably create it. Proceeds from all sales go to pay the monthly fees for this web site. You can help support this site as well as get great tracking products! Thank you!


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Also visit these fine stores for more products of interest:

NDN Pride shop - For Indian Pride items for all tribes. Custom items available on request.

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Beartracker's Animal Tracks Den is provided as a free service, but your
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Thank you and happy tracking!





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Copyright 1997, 2008, 2018. Text, photos, and drawings by Kim A. Cabrera

Updated: March 25, 2018.