Signpost Science: How to Unravel a Buck’s Rub Line

Signpost Science: How to Unravel a Buck’s Rub Line

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A whitetail deer rubs on a small branch and tree to mark its territory as part of the breeding period known as the rut. These rubs probably are the most significant communication signposts for deer. (Photo: Getty Images)

Here’s an in-depth look at what years of scientific research have revealed about buck rubs: The rut’s most visible signpost.

A mature buck in rut, deprived of favorable tree stems for rubbing, will rub just about any type and size of tree — even fence posts and utility poles. However, scientific literature indicates bucks prefer to rub small-diameter, smooth-barked trees and shrubs. Preferred species differ by region, depending on what’s…



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