Why Bucks Rub Fence Posts

spring beard and buck old rub postThis cedar post was located a half-mile off the Milk River, in a huge Montana wheat field where, for decades, at night from Halloween through November, 20 or more deer came to feed, mingle and breed under cover of darkness.

I figure the post was set by some ranch hands back in the 1940s or 50s. I figure that 10 to 13 generations of Milk River bucks have rubbed it into a perfect hourglass with their antlers since then; I mean you couldn’t have carved and smoothed it any better. I surmise bucks love the rubbing post because it is tall and smooth (the fence wire rusted away long ago) and still smells wonderfully of cedar.

Tactically speaking, the post is a “signpost,” blazed by bucks in a high-traffic spot where does and other bucks can see the post from far away and veer over to touch it, lick it, smell it and rub more on pre-orbital and forehead scent on it. It is both a visual and olfactory communication post for deer in the area.

With the rancher’s blessing, I lashed a rope to the fence post and yanked it out of the ground with a pickup. I felt a little sad, but I wanted the rub for a souvenir. It probably wouldn’t have lasted another rutting season anyway; most of the nearby fence posts had been snapped in half by the rubbing of frenzied bucks over the years.

Finding a unique and alluring thing like that post is a big part of why I still love to go hunting. On any given day you never know what you’ll see or find out in the woods.

One thought on “Why Bucks Rub Fence Posts

  1. That is a very cool item for the office/trophy room!
    I’ve started taking lots of photos when I’m in the woods for similar reasons, Mike. I always see something interesting out there.
    This season I plan to cut and install several cedar “rub posts” in my hunt area…just to see the reaction from the local bucks.
    Should be interesting…

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