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bitmasher's picture
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The big bulls are chickens?

Read an interesting article in a recent Bugle. In an interview with a renowned elk biologist, the biologist stated his opinions that the elite bulls are what he called "shirkers". In his words, despite popular opinion, super bulls do NOT participate in the rut.

He said the same thing holds true for deer.

His reasons are fairly straight forward. Shirker bulls (or chickens):

- Do not waste energy reserves on the rut leaving them in better health going into the long hard winter.

- Since they haven't lost their heads, they stay hidden more and are less likely to be killed, by people or otherwise.

Both of these forces work to keep the bull alive longer.

True, genetics, luck, no antler damage, etc all play a huge role, but making the ultimate bull requires he also stay out of the rut.

So what do you think, do big bulls practice abstinence?

Just to be specific the biologist was referring to the cream-of-the-cream bulls not just a big bull, but the B&C or P&Y world record breaker. To quote a line in the men in black movie.... "The Best of the Best of the Best of the Best of the Best of the Best of the Best..."

[ This Message was edited by: bitmasher on 2003-12-27 20:42 ]

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Location: Pennsylvania
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The big bulls are chickens?

I read that the "Rompola" buck aside from the contraversy about whether or not the buck was legal or altered. Was impotent possibly because of injury as a youngster. Therefore it didn't participate in the rut and/or fighting for dominance and it grew to massive propotions. The buck was fat and wide!
check this out!
http://www.record-eagle.com/sports/archive/buckpic.htm

[ This Message was edited by: hunter777 on 2003-12-27 21:58 ]

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The big bulls are chickens?

I'm no wildlife biologist, but it seems to me to be a pretty big stretch to conclude that the "best of the best" don't participate in the rut.

Okay, maybe they aren't out gathering up the biggest harems, and maybe they don't reproduce as frequently as some of the other bulls, but to conclude that they simply don't participate in the rut at all!?! I find that very hard to believe.

I suspect that they do participate in the rut, just not to the same extent as some of the other bulls. There's probably something of a continuum. On one end are bulls who get so completely hyped up during the rut that they forget all about being careful. On the other end are bulls who are so fixated on being careful that they barely notice the rut. In between are the majority of bulls. My guess is that the really big bulls tend to be further towards the "careful" end of the continuum, some might even be all the way down there where they never procreate, but I really doubt that every single one of them is at the extreme "careful" end.

bitmasher's picture
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The big bulls are chickens?

I didn't know that about the Rompola buck, that is interesting. Might explain a thing or two, the freak of a buck that it was. BBBBBIIIGGG.

Just to clarify the biologist didn't say they never rut, but rather they have some sort of aversion to rutting or they try to avoid conflict most of or all their prime years.

He gave an example of a mule deer that he watched for many seasons called something like "Old Buck". Early in the Old Buck's life it rutted as normal, but one season it got in a nasty fight and was nearly killed. Through 3-4 successive years it did not participate in the rut and got quite massive. Then the fifth year after a hard winter, many other bucks died off and with little to no competition Old Buck began rutting again.

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