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Exertion Myopathy

formerbowhunter1023

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SE Ohio
#1
If you have not had a chance to pick up the September issue of Deer & Deer Hunting, I’d recommend picking it up the next chance you have. There is an article by Charles Alsheimer in there called “Nature’s Grim Reaper” regarding the rigors of the rut and how it can result in the death of mature bucks. It is a very interesting read as it chronicles one buck during an 8-day span during peak rutting and breeding. The deer eventually dies and Alsheimer has a veterinarian perform an autopsy on the buck to determine the cause of death. The doctor determined the old buck died from exertion myopathy. He goes on to described exertion myopathy as what happens “when an animal over exerts itself to the point that its muscles break down.” The muscles break down causes a release of by-products that eventually cause kidney failure.

The pictures that go along with this article are almost touching. As gay as that sounds, it sucks to see such a gorgeous animal (135-140” 8-point with a split brow) that is obviously suffering in the second to last picture. It has to be a painful death, and a slow one at that.

After I read the article, I started thinking about how he captures all these pictures and information over the course of 8 days. I’ve been hunting for a long time and have never witnessed rutting behavior like that, not even for a few minutes. The conditions that must exist for a buck to actually perform to this point are not like any I’ve ever hunted! Anyone ever see a buck they thought was on the verge of overexertion?
 

rgecko23

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#2
All that I have seen are pictures, or on a hunting show. The one I remember the most is this buck had his tongue hanging out of his mouth, head down, and still had his nose down to the ground...

I have only seen rutting activity once and that was last year with dale, seeing how those deer were acting. I can believe something like that happeneing.
 

RedCloud

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#3
I have never seen anything like that up here. I have seen the occasional buck with his mouth open gasping for air after chasing a doe. The bucks I see do this are usually the 1.5 and 2.5 year olds and the doe are trying to get away from the little hornballs. Kind of like the ladies do when Kaiser is out at the bars on the weekends :smiley_banana: lol.

Seriously though, up here we have so many doe the bucks don't have to fight or run very far to find and bread one.
 

deerjunkie

Junior Member
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Canton, Ohio
#4
If you have not had a chance to pick up the September issue of Deer & Deer Hunting, I’d recommend picking it up the next chance you have. There is an article by Charles Alsheimer in there called “Nature’s Grim Reaper” regarding the rigors of the rut and how it can result in the death of mature bucks. It is a very interesting read as it chronicles one buck during an 8-day span during peak rutting and breeding. The deer eventually dies and Alsheimer has a veterinarian perform an autopsy on the buck to determine the cause of death. The doctor determined the old buck died from exertion myopathy. He goes on to described exertion myopathy as what happens “when an animal over exerts itself to the point that its muscles break down.” The muscles break down causes a release of by-products that eventually cause kidney failure.

The pictures that go along with this article are almost touching. As gay as that sounds, it sucks to see such a gorgeous animal (135-140” 8-point with a split brow) that is obviously suffering in the second to last picture. It has to be a painful death, and a slow one at that.

After I read the article, I started thinking about how he captures all these pictures and information over the course of 8 days. I’ve been hunting for a long time and have never witnessed rutting behavior like that, not even for a few minutes. The conditions that must exist for a buck to actually perform to this point are not like any I’ve ever hunted! Anyone ever see a buck they thought was on the verge of overexertion?
He has a farm in NY where he has penned deer. Pretty good size enclosure but can't remember the exact size. A lot of his photos are from the bucks on that enclosure and others.
 

formerbowhunter1023

Now Posts as Jesse..
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SE Ohio
#5
He has a farm in NY where he has penned deer. Pretty good size enclosure but can't remember the exact size. A lot of his photos are from the bucks on that enclosure and others.
That's the thing, this was all free range deer. Albeit in an area that didn't allow hunting, but he mentioned it was not in his enclosure. It has to be close to or right at a 1:1 sex ratio or even one that slightly skewed in a bucks favor for rutting to be hard enough on a mature buck to kill him from this. I just don't see how it could happen in the areas most of us hunt. I'd venture to say the buck to doe ratio on my best farm is 1:5 or 6 based on what I've seen over the last 3 months and 10,000 pics. How could you ever chase too much tang when you have 5 or 6 to choose from?!? :D
 

RedCloud

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#6
That buck to doe ratio you stated Jesse is about the same up here on the properties I hunt. Like I said on the other forum...it was the late 80's since the last time I even seen 2 bucks square off fighting over a doe. Even this summer I have yet to see a bachelor group of bucks. They all are by themselves just like the one in that trail cam pic I have posted. I had it set for a 3 shot burst and 1min delay and nothing followed him nor was any other bucks ahead of him. All the bucks have to do here is stay downwind of the doe and when they come into heat he just walks up collects his booty and moves on. No effort on his part.
 

rgecko23

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#7
Thats what I'm Saying...The Bucks don't have to do squat to get some up here. Just the other day ther e was one buck and like 20 doe out in this field....

Wonder how hard he has to work for some.....
 

RedCloud

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#12
My issue's been sitting on the coffee table for a couple weeks now... so I'm going to ignore this thread for now so it doesn't ruin my reading experience LOL.
Be careful buddy. You will go blind lol.

Just know this..if we don't hear back from you in a little bit we will send the medics to your house to check on ya. Make sure your not on the bathroom floor dead from over Exertion .
 
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hickslawns

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#13
I have seen a doe running with her tongue hanging out like this during shotgun season a couple years ago, but never bucks. I did see some bucks going at it last year but it was late August-early September. I would not say they were truly "going at it" more like a pre-season playful sparring round by a couple young bucks. This farm has a very skewed buck/doe ratio compared to the one you guys are talking about also.

The new property I am hunting this year I have about 8-10 bucks on camera and what appears to be either 4 or 5 does. I am afraid when the velvet peels, most of these bucks are going to spread out and not be seen again. Hopefully the big boys stay in this area.
 

Ohiosam

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#14
Never saw a buck in that condition in real life but saw a video of one.

A guy a few miles from me about 8 years ago noticed a deer acting "funny" in the field by his house. He grabbed a video camera and went out side. It was 2 bucks with their horns locked together, one was dead. When he went out the buck went crazy trying to get away from him, eventually several other people showed up and the buck was in an absolute panic trying to get away form the people. To see how the living buck could flip the other around was amazing! He videoed it till it was completely exhausted, legs splayed out just barely standing. One of the guys there called his brother who came out and put and arrow in the thing at 6 or 8 feet to finish it.

I'll admit to having mixed emotions about the killing of the buck that way. I was one of only a handful of people that got to see that tape, and I was able to borrow it and show a couple of close friends. The guy that killed it is from a family of pretty dedicated bow hunters and the whole family was bragging a lot about the buck(s). Dad was bragging one day in front of one of my friends about hoping it would make P&Y and my friend said "No way would it make P&Y." Dad said "We are still waiting for it to dry but should make it." Friend said "I saw the video, it wasn't fair chase." Dad's face turned beet red.
 

jagermeister

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#15
I finally got around to reading that issue of D&DH. While it's certainly an interesting article, and gives us something to ponder, I don't understand how Alsheimer can say he thinks this sort of thing happens more often than we think it does. I mean come on... he wrote that he's been photographing and observing whitetails, in prime ecosystems mind you, for over two decades and this is the FIRST time he has seen anything like this happen. How the hell does ONE occurance in over TWENTY YEARS of observation translate to "more often than we think?" I don't think it happens very often at all. He stated that he knew for a fact that the deer in question was at least seven years old, so age probably played the biggest role in it's death. The fact is, Ohio bucks are lucky to live past 1.5 yrs old, let alone 6.5 or 7... so I doubt this type of occurance happens very often. Make no mistake, the vigors of the rut definitely stress bucks to the max, but buck to doe ratios aren't usually very high and there's generally plenty of food around during and after the rut... enough that a rut-caused death would be unlikely.
 

rgecko23

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#16
I pretty much agree with the statement of, the buck to doe ratio around here isnt right enough for that. Bucks dont have to go very far to find a doe, so to think that a buck would be completely exhausted to point of basically passing out or dying is not likely. If the buck to do ratio was completely flip flopped than I can see it happening.....maybe
 

hickslawns

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#17
I am with JBrown on this one. I would say it is no different than the sudden death of someone in their prime by aneurism or massive coronary. It is sad. However, it occasionally happens. 7 yr old buck? Stressed in the rut in his golden year? Not a huge surprise, and probably not terribly common, although I am sure it happens occasionally.