What deer activity are you seeing?
Things are shutting down in the northern half of the country, but the South — specifically much of Texas — is on fire. Here's the latest information.
Josh Kinser, marketing director for Performance Plus Outdoors (Big & J), hunts in Webb County. He said rut activity is about to bust wide open. Throughout the past week, bucks have gone into overdrive constructing rubs and scrapes. He noted they've had little luck rattling, though. Temperatures are dropping and Kinser expects serious rut activities to ignite any time now.
Ronnie Parsons, a bowhunter in San Angelo, Texas, said the rut is back on and he is seeing a lot of bucks with does. Mature bucks seem to have abandoned feeders. He noted that acorns are still falling and lots of does and fawns, with an occasional buck, are commonly observed under live oak trees.
Steven Tisdale hunts in Borden and Crosby counties. Weather has stabilized, with lows in the mid-30s to highs in the mid-70s. He said a local videoed one heck of a buck fight a few days ago. So, there is still a bit of rut activity to enjoy yet. Though Tisdale has witnessed a lot of doe groups reassembling, he believes this late-rut activity is centered around healthier, more mature fawns slipping into estrous. This weekend should relinquish good hunting if you're still at it in this region.
Matt Futtere, owner of Veterans Innovative Products, said the rut has slowed in East Texas. They aren't seeing the amount of chasing as the previous week, but recent warm weather could be to blame. Bucks and does have returned to feeders, making more predictable appearances. A cold front hit yesterday, after unseasonably warm temperatures, and Futtere predicts this will fire deer up again.
K.C. Smith with The Element podcast, said warmer temperatures have made much of December dismal. He rattled in two young bucks on a cool morning recently, but overall, daytime mature-buck movement has been slow, even on trail cameras.
According to Joni Sanderford of the Croton Creek Ranch in western Oklahoma, rutting activity is slowly winding down. Sanderford said they are still seeing a good amount of daytime feeding. If you still have a tag, hang in there and concentrate on food sources.
The 2019 rut is in the rearview on Colorado's Eastern Plains. Concentrate on food sources. There might still be some amount of waste milo (sorghum) and corn in some areas. Alfalfa and winter wheat are the primary draws now. Deer come and go quite randomly in these vast fields, so sitting can prove frustratingly hit and miss. Instead, hang back between feeding and bedding areas and attempt to ambush deer in staging areas.
With the exception of a few units, New Mexico is between seasons right now. Those who drew special Coues whitetail and desert mule deer hunts in these southern lottery units should see decent daytime movement, though rutting activity is still a couple weeks out. This is a great time for serious archery-only deer hunters to get in some scouting. Deer should be settled into their rut ranges now.
Jay Strangis, owner of American Waterfowler magazine and former editor of Petersen's Bowhunting, said it's been cold with plenty of moisture. He labels this good hunting weather but adds that he wouldn't try to pattern deer on water. It's been quite wet, and water is overabundant.
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