The Southwest is big territory, and deer activity has swings just as big
The Southwest rut is turning on, depending on where you look. On November 12 my buddy Blake Barnett from Trailing the Hunter’s Moon TV sent me a message saying he had just rattled in his first buck of the year in what I would consider south Texas. Blake was hunting about an hour south of San Antonio, right on the edge of the famed south Texas brush country. They were filming so he decided it might be fun to Facetime me from the field and get some footage of us talking. That idea quickly got shot in the rear as a buck came running in. “Sorry man, we had deer running everywhere so I had to hang up,” he said. He ended up rattling in six bucks during that session and most of them were mature.
Almost simultaneously I got a message about the deer starting to rut from Trevor Hancock who hunts about 30 minutes from where Blake was. Trevor told me that a buddy of his had just killed a buck that was hot on a doe. Blake and Trevor both said the rubs and scrapes were all over the place. “Every 10 feet when you find a line,” Blake said. North central and west Texas have good reports coming in as well. Bucks are chasing does. The Hill Country is probably on the downhill slide by now, but the rut is still cranking.
In Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, the rut has been a slow burn. What I saw the first week of November led me to believe that it would be pretty hot right now, but that’s just not what I’m seeing. I’m still observing a lot of bucks traveling and checking does, but not sticking around. On November 12 we killed a really nice buck that showed up the day before Colorado’s third rifle season. He had cut off two does and was keeping them to himself. It’s the first breeding activity I’ve witnessed this year. A few of the does are coming into estrus, so I believe we are close to prime time.
Jeremy Fiscus, who owns Sandy Hills Hunting Company, is the go-to guy for eastern Colorado. He has guided for some absolutely giant mule deer. I asked him how the rut is going out there and he said moderate. Kind of going but kind of not. He told me his biggest problem was he couldn’t see the deer because of the tall vegetation fed by excessive moisture this summer. If the deer aren’t rutting, they don’t really leave the thick stuff, and everything is thick this year.
The rut has definitely started and in some cases is going. But for most of the Southwest, we’re just getting started.
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