Friday, November 25, 2011

More Whitetail Rut Photos-The Lip-Curl

It is quite common to see whitetail bucks lip-curling throughout the autumn months.  This behavior is associated with breeding activity and is most often seen during the peak of the rut.  It is commonly believed that the lip-curl is utilized to determine if a doe is in estrus. 

8 Point Buck Determines If Doe Is In Estrus
At one time I would have thought that the buck in the photo above was either an extra-large  1 1/2 yr. old buck or a small 2 1/2 yr old, but based on my extensive experience with Pennsylvania whitetails, I would not be surprised if this buck is 3 1/2  or more years old, although 2 1/2  years is more likely.

In the next photo a buck with a deformed left antler is captured doing the lip-curl also.  This buck is likely in the same age range.  The most likely cause of the deformed antler is that the antler was injured while in velvet, or that the pedicle was broken loose from the skull in a fight during the previous autumn.  This is one of the most vocal bucks I have encountered.  He frequently makes large resounding bleats while pursuing does.  Even with my severely damaged hearing, it is possible to hear him plainly at well over 100 yards away.

Buck With Damaged Antler

Lip-curling is not confined to bucks with antlers.  Even the 6 month old button bucks get in on the action too.

Young Bucks Lip-Curl Too!

The rut is quickly winding down, and the beginning of the Pennsylvania rifle deer season on Monday will bring much of the activity to a halt, but even if there were no season in the offing, activity would decline very quickly in the next few weeks.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill.


V.L. Locey said...

Every time I see white-tail bucks do that it reminds me of my goat buck. He does the same thing!

Lovely images as always, Willard!

Minori said...

Wow, you've got there raly nice wildlife photos. I have to watch you ;)

Anonymous said...

Very nice close-up photos and thanks for the info about lip curling!