3 Signs Your Backyard Deer Target Has Been Violated by a Rutty Buck

The month of November finds rutty bucks on the prowl looking for love. And while older, more mature bucks seem to have the game figured out, younger bucks tend to struggle to differentiate the real deal from an impostor. That’s why they’re such suckers for a decoy. That’s also why backyard deer targets are vulnerable to abuse during the month of November. My good friend, Luke, sent me a series of photos the other day of a 3D deer target in his yard. When he left for work, he noticed the target’s head had been knocked off. The headless target made him stop and take a closer look. Upon closer inspection, Luke discovered that his deer target had been violated by a rutty buck during the night. How did he know? Here’s a look at 3 signs your backyard deer target has been violated by a rutty buck.

Knocked Off Noggin

A missing head on your 3D deer target is not uncommon. The weather, or neighborhood pets, are common culprits. But during the month of November, when you find your deer target’s head detached, it’s highly likely it has been violated. In fact, the missing head is the most common sign your backyard deer target has been violated by a rutty buck. But to be sure, you need to take a closer look for the second telltale sign that a violation has taken place.

deer target has been violated by a rutty buck - headless-target

A missing head on your backyard deer target is the first sign of a rutty buck encounter.

Hair on the Hams

A more convincing sign of a rutty buck encounter is deer hair on your target. You’ll know things have gotten serious when you find white belly hair on the hams and back of your 3D deer target. This sign greatly narrows down this bucks intentions and leads us to the third sign that will confirm any suspicions that your deer target has been violated by a rutty buck.


White belly hair on the rump is a sure sign that things have gotten ugly for your deer target while you weren’t looking.

Hoof Tracks at the Hiney

You’ll know a rutty buck has had his way with your deer target when you find hoof tracks firmly planted at the hind end. This is a sign that the buck was totally duped and completely committed to your deer target. And whether he didn’t know, or simply didn’t care, hoof tracks at the hiney are the ultimate sign that your deer target has been violated by a rutty buck.


There’s no denying hoof tracks at the hiney. This buck obviously dug in and did business with this target.

There were other signs left behind on Luke’s deer target that we’ll not go into or share photos of for the sake of our more sensitive audience. Let’s just say that the buck wasn’t playing around.

Has your backyard deer target ever suffered from an encounter with a rutty buck? Comment below and tell us your story. Remember, See Something, Say Something.

Stay safe, and shoot straight this November!

Brodie Swisher

Brodie Swisher

Editorial Manager at Bowhunting.com
Brodie Swisher is a world champion game caller, outdoor writer, seminar speaker and Editor for Bowhunting.com. Brodie and his family live in the Kentucky Lake area of west Tennessee.
Brodie Swisher


  1. gingerjake says:

    My 3D got caught during the December rut. He was tied with heavy clothesline to a tree in the backyard. Looked out the kitchen window and saw the body on the ground and no head. Darn neighborhood kids up to no good! Not! Head was 6 feet behind the tree, clothesline was broken, neck was heavily scarred, a chunk of shoulder the size of your thumb was 3 feet away, and there were large pieces of bark gouged out of the tree. Must have been quite a battle!


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