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Peak Time in the North, and It's Revving Up in the South

It's late November, my favorite time of the year. Just yesterday morning I watched two whitetail bucks chase a pair of does as hard as they could down a river bottom. On the drive to town, a small 8-point whitetail buck was guarding a single doe at 11 a.m. in a wide-open CRP field surrounded by houses. I've never seen a deer there before. I suspect that sort of chaos will last another week or so close to my house in the Panhandle. Meanwhile, a lifetime away in the thorns of South Texas, a friend reports the rut is still two weeks away or more.

In the same area where I'm watching whitetails, the mule deer season is open. At a blind last night, an old 10-point muley posed for my camera right at sunset. He has a neck like a brahma bull and a jumbo-sized body, which make his antlers look small. But he showed no interest in nearby does. It's been my observation that mule deer in the same area do not really chase and act crazy in the rut until mid-December, when the general season in the Texas Panhandle is over. The mule deer rut timetable seems more synchronized with that of the whitetail rut in South Texas.

Family is here at the ranch. It's my week to guide the nephews. That's me in the photo above, under a gnarly old juniper tree glassing broken country, trying to find a target for young John. Wild hogs, deer, aoudad sheep are all on the menu. So far, one doe is hanging in the barn. When it's hunting season, and the entire family is at the ranch, there is a lot to be thankful for.

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