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I'm sure everyone has heard that bucks quit eating during the rut, that they spend all their time chasing does. But I would like to bust that myth and see if others here agree with me. I have never shot a buck with an empty stomach. They have not only been 'not empty' they have been so completely full that I don't know how they could have eaten anymore. And of course I'm talking about bucks shot during the rut.

What is your experience?
 

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Gosh. I've never heard that one. All the bucks I've ever shot had been eating just fine.
 

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They eat........but constant running and chasing burns off much more calories than usual.......and they don't eat as much at this time.

So.....that's why their fat reserves are used up....all the bucks this year had very little fat on them where we hunt, but the does were loaded up.
 

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a few years ago my dad shot a 3 pointer whose stomach was nothing more than a pile of tissue, it was absolutely empty when we gutted it. IT was shot in Dickinson County, during the rut because its tarsal glands STANK!
 

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I shot a 10pt 3 years ago that was all rutted out. I have gutted over 50 deer and its stomach was empty compared to all of the others. Otherwise it was a big, healthy deer.
 

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The buck I shot this year had a neck swollen to double it's normal size and it's stomach was bloated it was so full when I gutted it.
 

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Good post.

All of my friends and acquaintances argue with me that bucks do not eat during the rut. Well....how does that explain the last two bucks that I've taken (biggest in camp for those years) are full of corn?

Nocturnal feeding? (Or hitting somebody else's bait ) I'm a dark to dark hunter.
 

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Well....this seems to boil down to the have's and have nots...

The lucky bucks figure food can wait....the unlucky ones seem to eat while waiting for a ride....
 

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Howitzer said:
Busting the myth that bucks don't eat during the rut is as easy as confirming that deer cannot fly.
I did hear that Red Bull gives them wings!
 

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They eat. Two years ago I sat down on the edge of a field on the last night of bow season before firearm began, I wanted to see what kind of rut activity was going on. I was sitting about twenty yards from a few suggar beets that I had put down two days earlier. The largest boddied buck I have seen in the area I hunt came walking in just before dusk and proceeded to eat the beets for about fifteen minutes. Really cool to be that close to a rutted buck, neck swolen scars on his chest and legs. The reason for the scars, and the reason I didnt take him was because half of his rack was busted off. Never saw him again.
 

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I would say more eat than don't - and by not eating I'm only guessing 24-48hrs.

I think the myth comes from the general idea that a bucks primary goal is to breed and that he picks up food along the way as an after-thought (where he normally wouldn't). Like picking up Taco Bell after the bar.
 

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Dawg said:
...an after-thought ... Like picking up Taco Bell after the bar.
Or hittin' the fridge after a roll in the hay? ;)

I think they still eat but not as much as normal. No denying that autumn bucks tend to have less fat reserves than does. But my 2 cents is that's because of the calorie demands of the rut rather than not eating at all.
 

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I agree with Ken on this one.... Prior to rutting the bucks main goal is feed. During the rut it takes a secondary roll to cruising and finding hot doe. More activity, more calories burned....
 

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One thing people are missing here is that the rut is no where near as intense as they are in a balanced deer herd. The deer in most areas of MI are in no hurry to breed and don't have to go very far to do it. There are plenty of does to go around.
 

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Swamp Ghost said:
One thing people are missing here is that the rut is no where near as intense as they are in a balanced deer herd. The deer in most areas of MI are in no hurry to breed and don't have to go very far to do it. There are plenty of does to go around.
Really.....HUMMMMMMM I thought that a balanced deer heard was supposed to put less stress on the deer. Something seems fishy here. If in a balanced deer heard the bucks are rutting so intense that they don't have time to eat that can't be a GOOD THING!!!!!!!

By the way I will agree with most here. They have had food in them. However much less fat than a doe or 6 month old.
Chris
 
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