Late rut activity has been high in Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee; Deep South hunters are anticipating the best weeks of the season
Realtree’s Rut Report is coming to an end for the season, with our final reports coming next week, but there is still plenty of rutting activity happening — and on the cusp of happening — in the Southeast.
Though the primary rut peaked and passed weeks ago in the Mid-South area, I’m still seeing bucks scent-checking groups of does and fawns almost daily. Down in Georgia, Tyler Jordan says he’s also seen several bucks nudging does over the past week, but the action has been sporadic.
Over in the Virginia Piedmont, Mike Hanback says a light secondary rut is happening. “Bucks are showing up again on cameras back in the timber, and in small hidden food plots,” he said. “They’re not moving much in big, open areas but there is a flurry of late rut activity happening in the woods.”
Hanback added that Mid-South hunters should temper their expectations, though. “The activity, like in all places with a November primary rut, is very hit and miss,” he said.
Things are looking up elsewhere in the region. Jordan has been hunting in Louisiana a good bit this season, and he said that his contacts there have reported increased rutting activity over the past few days. “Mature bucks have been chasing does since we were last there (in early December), and I assume the next couple weeks will be good. Fresh scrapes are everywhere!” he said.
Dustin King lives in east-central Alabama, where he says bucks are just starting to separate and stake out their territories. “They have one thing on their minds, finding populations of does and marking territory,” King said. “I own 115 acres, so I have a couple ‘local bucks’ that live here, but I’m starting to see bucks on my trail cameras that I’ve never seen. That’s what’s exciting about this time of year.
“Our rut really starts going around Christmas and lasts until January 12th or so, with the best part being that week of January 12th,” King continued. “We’re starting to see a few of those little spikes and young bucks moving during the day and pushing does around as well. You could see a deer anytime of day right now, but we are still on the edge of those big, mature bucks moving during the day. Give it another week or so.”
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