What deer activity are you seeing?
Things might be slowing down out East and in the Midwest, but it's just now getting good down here in the Southwest.
North Central Texas
Dwayne Peirce farms near Wichita Falls in north central Texas. He said rutting activity is slowing now. Bucks are hitting feeders and food plots in an attempt to recharge. However, in his area, some of the best bucks are killed during the next two to three weeks as secondary rut action develops.
Ronnie Parsons is a highly successful bowhunter in the San Angelo, Texas. He said the rut has started. Bucks are aggressively chasing does. New bucks are showing up on trail cameras. But they aren't staying long. They hang out around feeders for two to three days before moving on in search of new does. It's time to keep your bow/rifle in hand and ready for instant action. Parsons said most bucks are just cruising by as they scent-check feeders.
Steven Tisdale hunts mostly Borden and Crosby Counties, which are east of Lubbock, Texas. He said whitetails are rutting heavily. One friend observed a hot doe with three different bucks in tow. Whitetail bucks were even seen checking mule deer does, too. Tisdale believes most whitetails are bred at this point and bucks are frantically seeking the last receptive females.
Matthew Futtere, owner of Veteran Innovative Products out of Frederiksberg, Texas, said a recent cold front dropped temperatures overnight from the upper 70s down into the 30s. This brought high winds and intense rain followed by a heavy morning frost. He observed bucks of all sizes — from spikes to Booners — chasing and breeding during this wild weather. They showed zero interest in food, though.
When not chasing, they were thrashing trees, making scrapes and fighting. This relentless action had does on the run and out of their established patterns. He also noted that torrential rains washed fallen acorns into low spots, concentrating feeding in drainages. He predicts deer will return to feeders after most natural food sources are consumed.
Mike Stroff, who is a Realtree pro staffer, Texas outfitter, host of Savage Outdoors TV, and host of Grigsby Realtree 365, said they aren't seeing any rut activity in South Texas yet. But they are viewing a lot of bucks on their feet and moving well during daylight hours. Plenty of scrapes and rubs are popping up, too. It won't be long before the fun begins.
Joni Sanderford hails from the Croton Creek Ranch in western Oklahoma. Sanderford said whitetails are rutting hard. Highly successful bowhunter, Eddie Claypool, operates out of northeastern Oklahoma. He said breeding is in full swing, and has been for about a week. Most mature bucks are hooking up with hot does and remaining fairly stationary in pockets of cover. This makes them difficult to locate. Small- to medium-sized bucks are still cruising. He believes the largest bucks of the season will begin showing up in daylight in the next week.
Danny Farris, owner of Ultimate Predator Gear, said the peak of the whitetail rut is now past. When you find a hot doe, she'll likely be surrounded by multiple bucks. Even when a buck has established his dominance, you'll generally find several others standing at the edges watching the show. Camp out near hot does you discover in the coming days. Every buck in the territory will likely stroll by for a look. Overall, cruising has picked up as bucks desperately hunt for the last remaining estrous does. Get in on the action while it lasts.
The last of the general rifle deer seasons are winding down in New Mexico. Those still in the field — especially in northern units — should see excellent movement through the end of the season. Northern deer are slipping into the rut, while southern deer are still in early season patterns. This is especially true of Coues whitetails, which should begin rutting around Christmas.
Darren Choate, founder and managing partner of Western Whitetail Magazine, said Arizona is all about weather right now. Portions of the Arizona high country are forecasted to receive up to 30 inches of snow by the weekend. Many higher elevations will likely become inaccessible. Lower elevations may be muddy and wet.
Several Coues whitetail rifle hunts begin today. These are open though next Thursday. Late archery season begins mid-December and things are shaping up for excellent conditions for those rut hunts. The Coues action should spark off when sunshine returns. But snow and rain will likely suppress all movement until then.
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