The archery deer season in Minnesota opens in only about two months, and hunters will experience lush, green surroundings and balmy temperatures. When the season finally ends more than 100 days later, the landscape will differ dramatically — cold, white and bare.

The scenery isn’t the only change deer hunters will notice. White-tail bucks will have completed an amazing metamorphosis between now and the end of December.

Bucks currently are mostly concerned about feeding. Their orange, summer coats are in stark contrast to their green surroundings.

In mid-September, adult bucks resemble does with antlers. A month later and with the breeding season nigh, those same bucks will undergo a dramatic conversion and will have had a 30 percent weight gain. They will sport bodies bulging with muscle. All this to attract the big-eyed does and to intimidate or do battle with competing bucks.

Then, with winter near, the rut winds down. Bucks shift their daily routine to replenishing their bodies, which have been depleted by a month or so of chasing does. Rest and food become their primary focus.


Bill Marchel is an outdoors writer and photographer. He lives near Brainerd, Minn.