What deer activity are you seeing?
Last week, Louisiana and Mississippi veered off Pre-Rut Way and barreled down Full Rut Road. This week, the deer are still going a mile a minute, while Alabama isn't so revved up. And yes, Florida is in the same perpetual loop of on-and-off rut activity we've seen for the past three months now.
Like the previous report, the hottest action comes to us courtesy of Louisiana. The eastern half of the state is filled with red-hot pockets of rut activity. If it's happening near you, focus on traditional rut tactics for the next couple weeks. Kinion Bankston of Southern Boyz Outdoors gives us the latest from the Pelican State.
The rut started, then the weather turned them off with temps in the 80s, Bankston says. We had a front move through Sunday night that dropped the low temps down into the 30s and highs into the 60s. That kicked the rut back in gear. The big boys are moving in daylight hours and we've had a few people come by the store that just killed nice bucks.
These parishes hold the most promise for the next seven days: West Carroll, East Carroll, Madison, Concordia, Catahoula, St. Landry, East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Washington, St. Tammany, St. John the Baptist, Iberville, St. Martin and a few surrounding parishes.
According to Slade Priest of Realtree's United Country Hunting Properties, things are much the same in Mississippi. For the most part though, both states have little pockets of deer that are different, either earlier or later. He attributes this to deer restocking back in the 1950s. Luckily, many hunters are experiencing the heart of the rut right now.
The rut is wide open, Priest says. In Midwest terms, it's November 17. Peak breeding is now. There's a lot of daytime activity. Just hunt the does. They will be there. New bucks are showing up daily.
Overall, while things are starting to cool down in the northwestern half of the state, southeastern counties are finally getting going. That's where the best action is located.
Rut activity might be slightly slower to the East, but Bart and Blair Goins of Whitetail TV say things are beginning to get right in 'Bama, too.
The rut is wide open in parts of Alabama, Bart says. In others, it's just the pre-rut stage. As far as most, they're scraping good and still doing pre-rut things. On my farm, the warm weather has subdued daylight movement the last 7 to 10 days.
He expects things to really kick off within the next couple weeks. His brother, Blair, says things are already rocking in the northern counties.
Not much for most other counties, though, Blair says. Bucks are still grouped together [in the South]. Our peak is around January 27.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, decent rut action is still happening in the Panhandle's central counties. The rut is much less punctual throughout most of Florida, however, and on-and-off rut activity is likely, especially in central-Peninsula counties. You just have to be there when it happens.
Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas
The rest of the region is void of breeding activity. Bucks take advantage of late-rut opportunities when they get them, but these aren't numerous enough for hunters to do the same, or even witness in most cases. You must be in exactly the right place at the right time to see any of this behavior. Instead, if you're hunting in these states, work diligently to establish bed-to-feed patterns for whatever deer you're chasing.
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