What deer activity are you seeing?
Much of Texas is seeing a decrease in rut activity, but one region is really just kicking off.
South Texas is the place to be right now. Full-blown rutting activity is ramping up and bucks are moving throughout the day. Mature deer are likely to show at feeders — often new bucks not yet on your radar — but most will only cruise through scent-checking for does. Don't expect them to hang around long. Take the first viable shot opportunity presented.
Several friends in the field report extremely good luck with rattling. Serious chasing (by mature bucks) has just begun. The coming weekend should offer wide-open action if you're lucky enough to have a quality South Texas deer lease.
In northwestern Texas, I've observed a small amount of secondary-rut activity driven by early drop fawns coming into their first estrous cycle. Otherwise, rutting activity is extremely spotty at best. This also signals the time of year when mature bucks return to feeders and settle into predictable patterns again. Some of the best bucks of the season are tagged during this phase. Don't give up.
Farther south, hardcore bowhunter Ronnie Parsons said the all-out rutting activity is winding down. This region will continue to see off-and-on, trickling rutting activity through the end of the month. As rutting festivities end, bucks will return to feeders and maintain more predictable patterns.
East Texas rutting action mirrors that observed in the central region. While the brunt of the action is behind us, secondary rutting behavior could appear locally for the next week to 10 days. With most breeding finished and acorn stocks diminishing, bucks should reappear at feeders soon.
Oklahoma whitetail bucks have largely abandoned the quest for receptive does. They're returning to calorie consumption in order to recharge after the stressful rut. Look for deer to return to morning and evening routines around reliable food sources, especially winter wheat.
Deer are hitting waste milo / sorghum and corn in some areas, but winter wheat is the primary draw. Long-distance scouting might reveal a preferred field corner with ambush potential, but these bucks seldom use the same entrance and exit route twice.
New Mexico's most serious bowhunters are gearing up for the big event — the late archery-only hunt that opens January 1. Spend the next few days scouting. Coues whitetails are quite territorial and — barring a major snow storm at higher elevations — they will remain in their current core areas into the season. Look for fresh tracks and scat (even if no deer are spotted), concentrations of does and the first scrapes and rubs, and you'll be sitting pretty when season arrives.
Arizona's yearling to 3 1/2-year-old Coues bucks have been observed chasing this week. This is good news for rifle and bowhunters in the field now, but action will only pick up and should really kick in right after Christmas. Reports indicate most fully mature bucks are currently sticking tight to thick cover, which calls for persistent glassing.
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