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Deer Season Is Winding Down, But Deer Activity Isn't

Overall Activity Status: My brother, Matt, is in from Clemson, South Carolina, for Christmas. It’s an 8-hour haul from there to here, and he’s stacked the miles on his old pickup this year driving back and forth to deer hunt. Last night, he sat down on the couch, a sip of Christmas bourbon in hand, and said, “I saw more deer in the last hour of my drive tonight than I did during all of hunting season.”

Indeed, movement has been outstanding for the past week. Most of it has been around the fields, too, where deer are visible. Big winter groups of does and fawns, especially, seem to be more predictable right now than they have been in months.
 
Fighting: Nothing new to report.
 
Scrape Making: For a couple weeks, I’ve reported cold scraping activity. But I found a big, fresh, new scrape at the edge of a pine thicket while moving a treestand Monday afternoon.
 
Rub Making: Nothing new to report, but I’d guess rubbing activity will hold steady for at least another couple weeks. After that, a few bucks will begin dropping their antlers. 
 
Chasing: Quite a few of the big family groups of does have a buck hanging with them and nosing the doe fawns around. But serious chasing is over for the year.
 
Daytime Movement: I would call the warm weather we’ve had this week “unseasonable,” but it’s been like this all year. Daytime highs have been in the 60s all week but despite that, daylight activity has been good. The movement is around the food sources, and skewed heavily to the morning and evening hours.  Green stuff is getting the most attention right now, by far. Most of the deer we’re seeing are gathered in hay fields, pastures, and picked bean fields that have green grasses growing around the edges—a common sight in the Mid-South right now, given the warm, rainy weather. Corn fields oversown with winter wheat are also drawing deer.
 
Estrous Signs: Nothing much.
 
X-Factor: Winter Storm Draco. As I type this, it’s 60 degrees, raining, and the wind is howling ahead of the storm, but there’s a blizzard behind it. While the storm isn’t forecast to bring sub-freezing daytime temperatures to this region, it is going to get colder, and that will change up the deer movement. My prediction? Movement will be slow the next couple days, given the high winds. But it should pick up again as soon as the weather stabilizes. Depending on how cold it gets, some of those green food sources mentioned above, especially new growth around the crop field edges, could disappear, but as of right now, the forecast is too warm for that to happen.

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