Muley Rubs, what do you know about them?

Horn Seeker

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I have found two areas in the last year that are LOADED with really gnarly mule deer rubs. I've seen them rub brush alot getting their velvet off, but these are the serious testosterone charged blue balled kick the shit out of a 4 inch aspen rubs. My question.....when are they making these rubs mostly? My inclination is to think they start making them just before the rut starts, like maybe early November, then continue on through the rut?

ANymore input?

Thanks
 

GatoMan

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Alot of rubs are when they are going from velvet to hard horned, sept around here usually, most everythings hardhorned by oct 1. I think they rub also around the rut late oct-nov here.
 

montanahunter

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From my experience a bunch of muley rubs usually is where the bucks are hanging out while in velvet. I have seen this many times - fresh looking deer rubs while hunting elk in Sept.. Where I hunt most of the bucks hang out high, above the spruce - alpine belt - 6000+ feet, when it starts to frost they drop into the timber - a food protein thing.From this time throgh the rut rubs happen but are not as plentiful, possibly because the bucks are no longer clusterd. Later TK.
 

DKO

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this is interesting, i know whitetail rubs mean a whole lot more than just velvet removal, pardon inexperience when it come to mule deer but it makes sense, since they do traverse elevation with the weather that they would not use them as a sign post to identify a core area like a whitey does. I know with whitetails i very much like to find areas with fresh as well as old rubs (generational rubs) which tends to make me believe that there's something geographical or physical that the deer favor in the area. could this hold true for early season mule deer like Montanahunter was sayin ? or do mulie deer travel so much that they dont really have a home range ?

great topic for us flatlanders! thanks Hornseeker
 

danr55

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According to the text, Mule and Blacktail Deer of North America, mule deer do have a home range. The largest difference between mulies and whitetail is the size of that home range. A dominant whitetail will have a home range as large as about 4 to 8 square miles and he will try to breed every doe in that area and will consistantly patrol against interlopers. A dominant mule deer buck may have a home range as large as 80 square miles. He patrols it constantly just as the whitetail does, but due to the size, there is a lot less chance of intercepting other bucks of dominant class.

If you see a dominant mulie buck toward the end of the rut, he may look like he is walking on sore feet. That's because he probably is. In an effort to maintain his dominance and breed every doe possible, a mulie buck may traverse some 800 to 1200 miles in the few weeks the rut lasts.

:cool:
 

antlerrick

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I think the rubs serve two purposes. The first is to remove the velvet as it becomes dry and itchy, and then I think the second purpose is right after they get the velvet off, they use the rubbing to develop their neck muscles in preparation to the rut, much in the way that an athlete develops his muscles through strenuous excercise. The bucks with the strongest necks, and strongest bodies, will win the competition with the other bucks during the rut, giving them the chance to do most of the breeding!
 

Horn Seeker

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Hmmmm, well, I know they rub there velvet off, and yeah, makes sense they'd rub some more to develop muscles.......but I also know they rub later too, just was curious if anyone knew when the rubbing was concentrated. I've seen fresh rubs, with bark laying on fresh snow, in Mid November.

I really dont thing the rubs I'm seeing mostly are velvet off rubs, as they dont just tear into a big sapling to take velvet off. I'll try and do some research and see what I can find out. I'll post anything I learn.

HS
 
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Deerslayer

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HS.....those late rubs you are seeing are more likely made by larger bucks battling testosterone. All bucks do the velvet rub....and true enough, some rubs are signpost rubs. Like Dan said, even muleys have home ranges.....just much larger than whiteys. But those later rubs.....larger more aggressive rubs....are more likely made by a big bruiser horny old buck swaggering around, totally frustrated and/or challenging other males and serving notice to all comers that he is one to be reckoned with.....much in the same way elk do. Many times the bigger the buck the bigger the tree and higher up on it he rubs...but this is not always true. He leaves his scent on the rub and will freshen it often while in an area. Other deer recognize this and there is definitely communications going on.....much the same way a ground scrape serves. They have a very complex form of communication and this is part of it. Most of the larger bucks I have taken have had fresh bark in the knarls of their bases, including the big bruiser muley I took in middle November last year, indicating he made one of those late season rubs you were talking about.

Key in on the fact that the later rubs are rarely meaningless and never velvet rubs, but more often a mature buck making a statement, if only for a brief time as he passes through. That is why the blood should start pumping when you find one of those rubs that is so fresh it looks as though it was just made.....it's maker may not be too far away. Look for rubs higher up indicating larger deer, and with deeper gouges, indicating stronger more dominant bucks.

These rubs probably help us little in harvesting a big buck, but they sure do add to the excitement of the hunt when you are standing in front of a good one!

Dean, I can tell you know quite a lot about rubs and their meaning. Whitetails are more predicatable and finding big, fresh rubs can be more useful in the pursuit of them. I can remember finding big, impressive rubs on the edge of thick bedding areas and hanging a climber over it for a few days.....many times ending successful.
 

Oak

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I heard a theory once that a main reason animals with antlers "rub" before the rut is so that they can get an idea of how big their own antlers are (since they can't see them). This helps them avoid conflicts with animals that are bigger than them, thus avoiding injury. I don't know if I buy it, but there it is, for what it's worth.

Oak
 

whitedeer

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Hornseeker.....Based on my experiences, I have found that mule deer communicate during the rut, much like the elk bugles during the rut, to locate other dominant mule deer in his area. I've seen them rub their antlers vigorously and then stand and listen for the longest of time, then repeat amd listen again. If they hear another buck battling a tree off they go and the sparring match is on. I have watched from afar many times when bucks are sparring and the winning buck escorts the loser out away from the area of whatever the winning buck is tendering. Tearing up trees and shrubs along the way.....kind of "I whipped your ass good and you better not be coming back". Usually, if it was a one sided battle, the loser becomes more and more "whupped looking", but if it was close, the loser will keep trying to circle back....and the winner is saying "I'll whup-ass your butt again if you come back" Regressed from your earlier remarks, but I think most of these rubs you are talking about are made during the rut. Just some of my humble observations.
 

BCBOY

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I'm fortunate enough to get to hunt the mule deer rut every year and they do get very aggressive beating trees. I have seen dink 4 points right up to monster muleys beat trees to pulp. I use rubbing as a tactic during the rut. I carry a shed antler and rub trees as well. I've had battles with big bucks trying to have them come into view by me beating a tree and him beating a tree. When you see those monster rubs, they normally are made during the first 2 weeks of Nov (prerut) and not many are made during the heat of the rut.
I have also noticed many bucks move back into their bachelor groups post rut and use rubbing as a sign of dominance. I have watched them rub even until the week before they drop. So there are a lot of winter rubs made as well.
 

Horn Seeker

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Shweeet! Thanks for all the good info. Though I haven't witnessed them rubbing, I sorta formulated the answer that you last 3 or so gave. To hear they are in the first two weeks of Nov from BCBoy really excites me, as my season ends the 15th! Another thing, these patches of aspens and brush that they are concentrating on are sorta isolated from the big timber, so with a decent vantage point from above I may catch one sneaking out of there! Another spot where they really are thick is in a little saddle from a nasty thick north face to a moderately thick south face. I better find the right "wind" spot and stake that area out.

I am pumped. I am not sure of the trophy potential for this spot, but I do know there are a lot of bucks bigger than any I've shot, so I'm not going to worry. I think a top end buck would be a nice heavy typ that might go in the low 180's, but I'll be happier than a faggot in a weeny factory if I can kill a heavy 155-165 buck!

I cant wait for season!!!!!
 
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Deerslayer

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And Ernie....here is fuel for your fire, while you have it going nice and hot ;) ......even in so-called "non-trophy" areas, there is always the potential for that one or two bucks that have grown old, big, and knarly! :eek:

...good luck and we look forward to the pix!
 

powderburn

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This went from a replacement fence pole to toothpicks in 2 weeks. Happened during Nov, a couple of years ago never got a look at the buck.
 

Horn Seeker

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Fact it DS, a big old gnarly buck for me can be much less buck than one of you trophy hunter types! Heck, he wouldnt have to be any bigger than that fatty you got in CO last year! :0)
 

danr55

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Horn Seeker,, If you are hunting the rut, and you don't see anything but does,, keep your eyes peeled. Watch the does carefully. When you see one that is squating to pee frequently, get ready. She is announcing her readyness to breed. There will be a big ol' buck around somewhere.. and he'll come running when he gets a whiff...

:cool:
 
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