Whitetail mating ritual captured on film!


This weekend, I was presented with a rare opportunity to photograph the whitetail rut up-close-and-personal. To observe a magnificent buck firsthand,as he pursued a doe coming into estrus, was a scene I will never forget!



The courting ritual begins as the buck feeds casually near the doe, all the while keeping her close at hand…



This guy is an attentive boyfriend indeed.



The buck took a moment to tear-up a nearby maple tree(easily 12″ diameter), in perhaps the largest rubbed tree I have ever seen!



The buck then begins to make a scrape just as the battery dies in my camera – doohh!

Luckily I had another cam available, although the delay did cause me to miss the majority of his scrape activity.



As the doe made her way across the field toward me, the old buck was in hot pursuit.



I managed to slip my way around and photograph the two deer from another angle, while the buck continued his pursuit of the doe.



In this most incredible image, the buck can be seen scent-checking the doe for receptiveness.

Estrus cannot be far off!


This is the last photo I have in the series before the two moved off together and out of range.

To be able to witness the white-tailed deer courting ritual firsthand is something I will not soon forget and is, without a doubt, the greatest series of images I’ve captured to date.







20 thoughts on “Whitetail mating ritual captured on film!”

  1. wow that was great i wish i had a camera on the pig deer i saw boday mass was sick like a moose body and a massive head could’t get a shot off at him he was so fast , been 10 years or more since i have seen a buck move like this one jeff but the numbers are down , this winter may prove to be bad for the deer

    1. Ya see mike, just getting the ‘chance’ to see something the calibre you saw is what keeps us going back year after year…at our hunt camp, we have the mystery buck, a great 10point who has outsmarted us for the 5 seasons!

      I am not even sure what I would do If a shot at mystery buck would present itself. We’ve had so much fun planning, chasing, stalking, still hunting and scheming to get this big buck, I’d hate to think it was over.

      Even if you dont get him this year, think of all the dreams you’ll have until next fall when he hopefully shows up again!


  2. cool shots! Right place at the right time that’s for sure. I still haven’t seen a deer let alone a buck. The gang finished up the second week on Friday with a double header, a big doe and a similar sized 6 pointer for a total of 3 deer in two weeks. They commented it was tough hunting, much like 30 years ago and the dogs couldn’t find deer because there is literally no sign in the woods. They shot 6 yotes over the course of the two weeks and missed a few others.
    “I am not even sure what I would do If a shot at mystery buck would present itself” – ya right….I am sure you would figure it out in a hurry 😉

    1. johan wrote; ““I am not even sure what I would do If a shot at mystery buck would present itself” – ya right….I am sure you would figure it out in a hurry”

      See man, this is coming from a guy who’s never seen a daytime pic of this deer, let alone catch a glimpse of him face to face…kinda resigned myself to fact that I’ll never see him! (so getting a shot will likely never happen…hehe)

      They are fortunate to get two deer in my opinion. We only saw a small handful of deer around our hunt camp, of course then I’d check the trailcams next morning, and there they were!


  3. What a treat to see!! Was that at the hunt camp or in your big backyard?

    Makes me wonder when the rut actually was. I saw little sign of it this year, maybe due to the low numbers of deer or some strange moon factor. Lots of does seen but few bucks around in my area, although, as you say, there were some at night.

    Of course, I only have a buck tag.

    1. Maple, as my Dad would say; “those photos were taken in the Great Outdoors!”

      I can tell you they were not taken in my deer woods, or that poor buck would have had no fun at all…hehe..they were closer to my place and in a no hunting area. (You can tell by the relaxed look on the buck’s face)

      My guess is the rut is really only getting under way now, as this doe in the photos was just starting to show signs of pre-estrus, and I don’t think she was late by any means.

      I suppose by most accounts, the deer got a real break this year, hopefully they can carry that good fortune through the winter months!

      Good to hear from you Maple..dont be a stranger..stop-by more often, we could use your insight around here!


  4. Outdoors Guy

    What beautiful photos, just like something you would see on a postcard.

    Our group did very well again this year — 7 in total. My son got a doe making it three years in a row for him.

    1. Thanks Hunting Mom, as Johan noted I was just in the right place at the right time.

      Congrats on your terrific deer season..7 deer, wow! I dont know of any camps who were quite that successful, and your son is obviously quite the hunter in the making too.


  5. Not much of a rut had started in the area I was in on the Quebec side last week, a few minor scrapes but nothing that would stand out. I bet the rut is just getting into full swing this week.
    We saw all kinds of does alone, even coming out in the fields in the evening the does would come out and no bucks around.
    Great picks Jeff

    1. Iggy, we had no real rutting activity around our camp first week of November. I mean, bucks were cruising at night but thats probably more pre-rut than anything.

      The bucks would have nothign to do with daytime travel, and we couldnt seem to move any either just one of those years.

      Nice that you saw some does on QC side


  6. jeff saw that monster buck again i hope to either stick him with my crossbow or muzzleloader he has changed the side of the field that he crosses but i can see him very well with the snow on the ground , i hope to blessed with a close call to get a shot at him , i feel very privilegded to have witnessed him as close as i did , if by chance i get him or my buddy does i will send a pic to you

    1. Hey mike, the cold weather and rut may work in your favour.

      Best of luck and for goodness yes, please send pics and the whole entire story!!!


  7. Over for another season. No muzzle loader for me this year so other than grouse my season is done.
    I love to grouse hunt although it’s more like a nice long walk without golf clubs 😉

  8. yes for sure jeff hope the amount of snow doesn’t get much higher but i do hope i get a shot at this big boy i have 7 large racks in my house that i am proud of but respect each one , but this big boy is so elusive and smart , he spooks very easily and is stealth to the max i will send pics for sure , it gives you goose bumps and makes your stomach feel sick when you see him , just the excitement is hard to turn into patience , you know what it feels like when time stops to a crawl and you look into your scope and see a big boy like this it makes hours of waiting seem like a breath away and then time seems to stand still just for that moment

  9. well jeff i just got the news that one lucky hunter managed to get one of the 8 point bucks near my house in Almonte he was quite happy as it weighed in at 290 lbs before being cleaned up not quite sure who got him but it was the monday am of the second week of the gun season i guess he is now sleeping better , he had to drag it through 200 yards of standing corn apparently taking hours of labour intensive work

    1. Lucky him Mike, nice big buck…just wondering though why he didn’t field dress it first…never heard of anyone taking a deer out in tact like that..no wonder it was so heavy.


    1. you know that poor Rita is no longer with us, right?

      Seriously tho..why wouldn’t he field dress it first?


  10. not sure i guess he was so excited his brain froze up , i did see a nice 8 point buck standing beside the road saturday morning on the way to a goose hunt , it was 6:50 am and he was just grazing there 10 yards away isn’t that how it always happens jeff , he had a perfect rack very symetrical , and had a caramel coloured hide

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