rut buck huge neck new science

Mike: My buddies and I were talking about how bucks’ necks swell up, and none of us can find any definitive information on what causes it. We know it’s based on the mating cycle. Is it muscle mass increase, blood flow, etc.?  Thanks, Jason T.

Jason: In the latest research from Delaware, biologists found that the circumference of a buck’s neck can increase 50% in the rut. I asked Sarge Vasquez, a wildlife biologist and member of the Big Deer Hunt Team, for more. Sarge says:

One of my old college professors, Dr. David Hewitt, wrote and edited a great book entitled, Biology and Management of White-tailed Deer. We talked about why bucks’ necks swell, and while Dr. Hewitt said he wasn’t aware of any true scientific data on the subject, it is likely caused by “a huge surge in steroids (testosterone hormones) to the deer during rut.” That shot of steroids makes the neck muscles get big. It would also cause the aggressive behavior bucks often exhibit. 

BTW, check out that buck’s neck in the cam picture. That Canadian bruiser was rutting big time, and I shot him two days later, scored 176 gross. I wish I had taped the circumference of his fat neck.