The 10 point buck I killed this year during shotgun season did not show all of the signs of recent rutting behavior you would expect. He was a decent sized 10 pointer (I'll include a pic.), and I would have expected his tarsel glands to be black and have that musky odor that you expect to smell this time of year. However, it didn't look like he had been peeing on them as they were barely stained at all. His neck was swollen, and he had some bark on the bases of his antlers, but didn't smell like he was still rutting. There were a few smaller bucks killed around my camp that would stink up the whole woods, so bucks were still seeking does at the time.
Anyway, I'll get to the point. The buck I killed had been injured. It looked like he had been hit by a car sometime this season. His left rear hoof was skinned up pretty bad, and the whole left leg was much smaller than the opposite side. Most likely from being off of it for a while. There's no telling how bad his injuries were in the beginning, but since he was up and around at the time I shot him I figured he would have been able to participate in the rut.
So here's the question.....
How severe of an injury does it take to knock a buck out of the rut?