It's go time. The rut is here. Go deer hunting
In the northern part of the Southwest region, if your season is open and you have a license, you should be in the woods hunting. The last week has been awesome in northwest Colorado. Deer are moving, and bucks are starting to chase. On Oct. 30, opening day of Colorado's second rifle season, I found myself watching a group of does as the sun came up. Not long after legal shooting light, a mature 3x3 buck came walking in and proceeded to destroy a bush, then moved on to the group. He marched right in there and started pushing a doe. Since he wasn't the quality buck we were looking for, we moved on. An hour later we found it: a giant 190-inch typical buck seeking around, checking for any does that may have been coming into estrus. Within two hours of the first morning, we were standing over a true giant, all thanks to the rut. As each day passes, we are seeing more bucks show up and a lot of pushing. The next few weeks are going to be really fun in northern Colorado and Utah.
Checking the pulse of things, I called Stieg Phillips, who owns Muley Maniacs and Canati Tripods. Phillips lives in southeast Nevada not far from the Utah border and knows his way around big muley bucks. I was excited when I called with the great activity I've already been seeing, but Phillips said, We're not seeing any of that yet. It's a little late. It's been warm and we're just sitting on go, waiting for the first signs.
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I'm hearing promising signs out of Texas already, mostly in the northern parts but some in the Hill Country as well. In a conversation with Blake Barnett, co-host of the Trailing the Hunter's Moon TV show, Barnett had this to say: Texas whitetail hunters should see some rutting activity for the kickoff of the general rifle season. Especially in parts of the Texas Panhandle and across the Texas Hill Country. I'm in San Angelo now and bucks are pushing does around. Strong pre-rut activity but not full blown just yet. Other areas should heat up closer to Thanksgiving into early December. Good luck to all the hunters in the Lone Star State!
In terms of tactics, travel corridors and food sources are still the way to go. For the areas with rutting activity already going, some of the more mature bucks are still getting in gear and just now traveling to the rutting grounds. Keeping tabs on the does is very important right now, as the big one can show up any day now.
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