What deer activity are you seeing?
The rut is winding down for most deer hunters in the Southeast. But the weather is getting right. Be in a treestand this weekend and early next week.
Arkansas and Louisiana
Some Arkansas counties are exiting the lock-down phase. Others are nearing peak chasing. Mississippi River counties such as Ashley, Chicot, Desha, Arkansas, Phillips, Lee and Crittenden are really starting to heat up. The rest of the state is cooling off, but mature bucks are back on their feet and looking for the last receptive does.
The bucks are starting to re-open scrapes, said The Virtues' Phillip Vanderpool. Go back and check those scrape lines that were active earlier in the season.
In Louisiana, the western half of the state has the majority of the action right now. While the best rut activity has been occurring in the southwestern quarter, it's creeping northward. The northwestern region of the state is now the hot spot. There are even a few select pockets that are flaring up in the eastern half of the state, too.
The rut is coming to a close in South Carolina. The exception? According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the northern stretches of Oconee, Pickens and Greenville Counties are seeing decent chasing and breeding activity.
The Tarheel State is seeing much more movement, though. The western third of the state is reporting solid deer movement. And, according to historical rut data, Buncombe, McDowell, Yancey, Mitchell, Avery, Caldwell, Cleveland, Wilkes, Yadkin, Alleghany, Rowan, Davidson and Randolph should be the hottest spots for the next week or so.
Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia
Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia are displaying the least rut activity. We're firmly in the post-rut in Kentucky. Most Tennessee and Virginia counties are, too. That said, far western Tennessee counties that border the Mississippi River, northeastern Tennessee counties, a few southeastern Kentucky counties, and even select southwestern Virginia counties are still show signs of rut activity. If you hunt in these three states, those are the areas to be in order to capitalize on good rut action. That said, it's possible to see pockets of localized rut activity well into December anywhere in these states.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Sunshine is seeing decent rut activity in the central portion of the Peninsula and the eastern third of the Panhandle. Bucks are chasing does. However, the rut is much less condensed there. So, while it could be wide open on one property, it might be dead just a few miles down the road.
Alabama and Mississippi
Alabama deer hunters are still seeing early season patterns and minor signs of the pre-rut. A few rubs and scrapes are popping up now. In Mississippi, deer hunters in the northwestern corner of the state are seeing decent action. According to state biologists, the pre-rut is on fire in six or seven counties up there. But the remaining 90 percent of the state is still in early season patterns.
Most of Georgia has cooled off now. That said, there are a few counties along the northern, southern, and southwestern state lines that see a rut in December and early January. We'll update on these areas as they show more life. The rest of the state is firmly in the post-rut now.
It has definitely slowed down here, said Realtree Pro Staffer Michael Pitts. We're still seeing a few bucks chase does, but nothing like they were. I'm starting to see new bucks showing up and hang out, which is typical for this time of year. Hopefully they will settle back down on a feed pattern in the next week or two. Then they will become somewhat predictable again.
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