Our buddy Troy, who makes his way to Bozeman each summer from Nebraska to help with judging for the Pitmaster BBQ Classic at Kenyon Noble managed to catch some great footage this week of two brawling bucks.

It's rut season, and these two deer were sparring next to a 4-lane highway outside Omaha. One of the contestants is a wide-antlered white-tailed deer, while the other is more compact and tall. You can watch their brawl below.

Rutting season typically occurs anywhere from mid-October to as last as early December. According to Ken Gee, a retired wildlife research specialist, the fight like the one in the video shot by Troy is one of the first signs of rutting behavior.

Rut has a cycle and the bucks change their behavior from the beginning to end. An article on MossyOak.com titled What to Know About Hunting Deer During Rutting Season shows the rutting cycle as follows:

  • Pre-rut occurs from mid to late October
  • Seeking from late October to the first few days of November
  • Chasing (peak rutting phase) occurs from early to mid-November
  • Tending (or “lockdown”) from mid to late November
  • Post-rut from late November to the end of the month
  • Second rut (not guaranteed) during the first two to three weeks of December

All this reminds me of a deer joke I once heard:

A deer hunter was bragging about the biggest, baddest, handsomest, heaviest deer he'd bagged the day before. "It's got enough meat to eat the whole year," he boasted. Just then, the Game Warden came up and cited the man $500 for hunting without the proper tag. "Five-hundred dollars?" exclaimed the hunter. "All for a mangy, skinny, stubby, half-pint deer?"

Feel free to use that one next time you're out in the middle of nowhere, hunkered down in the cold, wondering where the heck the deer are. It will help pass the time.