Southeast Rut Report: Expect Major Deer Movement with Latest Cold Front


Southeast Rut Report: Expect Major Deer Movement with Latest Cold Front

Posted 2019-10-11T16:46:00Z  by  Josh Honeycutt

What deer activity are you seeing?

Southeast Rut Report: Expect Major Deer Movement with Latest Cold Front - rt-10-11-tony_campbell-shutterstock-se

Rutting activity hasn't changed much since this time last week. But a great cold front is marching across the Midwest as we speak. Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and part of Mississippi will benefit from it this weekend. The region's most southeastern states unfortunately won't see as much of an impact if predictions hold steady.


Things haven't really changed here. Right now, the hottest Florida counties are those up and down the East Coast. Like last week, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, Martin, Indian River, Brevard, Seminole, Volusia, Flagler and Putnam seem to be the most productive right now. But according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Manatee, Sarasota, Highlands, Citrus, Gilchrist, Alachua, Lafayette, Taylor, Hamilton, Columbia, Baker, Union and a few other surrounding counties are starting to pick up.

Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana

It's definitely still the early season in Arkansas, Mississippi and most of Louisiana. Arkansas shouldn't see any rut activity until the end of the month, at the earliest. And that's only for northern and central counties.

Deer in Mississippi are definitely still in their early season patterns. But a few rubs and scrapes are beginning to show up. Continue focusing on bedding areas, food sources and water. Mississippi hunter Cody Kelley, co-host of Small Town Hunting, confirmed.

It has been nasty hot and dry, Kelley said. Lots of nighttime and irregular activity on cameras. There is a cool front moving through tonight, bringing northerly winds. Expect it to get them up on their feet earlier. The Southeast can be really tough in October until you get a weather front, and then it can be really good.

[Focus] mainly on acorns or persimmons as primary food sources right now (and feeders where it's legal), he continued. It's been extremely dry until today, so food plots are nonexistent. Everybody is really scrambling right now to get seed in the ground now that some moisture has hit. Use trail cameras, and if you get a shooter on camera in the daylight, keep the wind right and ease in to try to hunt him. [Hunt] afternoons for now, but a good acorn flat during this cool front could be good in the mornings as well."

Louisiana is seeing decent rut activity in parts of Vernon, Allen, Acadia, Vermillion and Iberia Parishes. Still, due to extremely localized rut dates, parts of those very same parishes won't see breeding activity for weeks, if not months.

North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia

North Carolina and Virginia will receive a big wave of cooler weather on Sunday, courtesy of the latest front. Deer should be on their feet and doing pre-rut things in daylight.

As for rut activity, a few coastal counties in North and South Carolina are showing signs. In North Carolina, that's Hyde, Tyrrell, Dare, Carteret, Columbus and parts of Brunswick. In South Carolina, parts of Charleston, Colleton, Beaufort and Jasper Counties are seeing the best action. It definitely isn't peak rut there, yet. But they should experience decent seeking and chasing activity within the next week. Charles Ruth, the big game program coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said as much.

The peak of breeding in most of South Carolina is mid-October through mid-November, he said. So, we are currently in pre-rut. Buck movements have ramped up as they are searching for the occasional early ovulating female. Temperatures have been unseasonably high, which typically negatively affects daytime movements. With a much-needed change in the weather, things should explode at any time.

Kentucky and Tennessee

This cold front is rapidly approaching the Bluegrass and Volunteer states. We're looking at a forecast 20-degree drop (for the high) in less than 24 hours. That will occur between Friday and Saturday for most of Kentucky and Tennessee, making for an excellent weekend of deer hunting. With the exception of last weekend, that's vastly different from what the season has been like thus far. Gabriel Jenkins, deer and elk program coordinator for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, agreed.

Things have been slow here, Jenkins said. Between the dry weather and heat, it's reduced the harvest pretty significantly. However, with the rain and cool down over the weekend, we anticipate things to pick up. I've had a very few reports of some scrapes. Up until this weekend, most movement was occurring at night and feeding habits were focused on mast (in places where we have a decent crop).

Personally, I've been seeing several scrapes and rubs. Pair the coming cold front with rising testosterone, and deer should be on their feet this weekend.

Alabama and Georgia

The temps continue to be brutally hot in Alabama and Georgia. There's no rut activity going on in Alabama, and there shouldn't be until late November. The only Peach State counties even hinting at rut activity are the easternmost parts of Chatham, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh, Glynn and Camden. While the rut activity there might happen at night if hot temperatures continue, expect things to heat up within the next week or two.

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  • Day Activity

  • Rubbing

  • Scraping

  • Fighting

  • Seeking

  • Chasing

  • Breeding