Overall Activity Status: The rut is on and deer are moving in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. “The rut is on in our area, but it has slowed some with the warm weather,” said Trevor Fitzgerald, a Florida hunting guide at Southern Arrowhead Outfitters.
“There was a real nice buck harvested at our place this weekend, though.” The hunter was Kyle Jones, who arrowed a 128-inch 8-pointer. A doe walked past his stand about 20 yards away, then a few minutes later his buck came walking the same trail with his nose to the ground.
Fighting: I have not heard of specific fighting, but it should be occurring in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida.
Rub making: Rubbing is only sporadic because most bucks are searching or following does.
Scrape making: Some scraping is ongoing in rut states, but again, bucks are spending most of their time going after does.
Chasing: There's plenty of chasing in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. Lou Arcangeli, who hunts in Marengo County, Alabama (in southwest Alabama between Selma and Demopolis) relates his experience hunting in late afternoon earlier this month: “Two does and two bucks arrived at the same field at 4:30 p.m., with the bucks coming from different wooded areas. There was some posturing and a “false charge” by one big-bodied seven-point buck toward the other, younger and less bulky ten-point, but no contact was made and the younger buck stayed close by and did not leave the field, at least until I shot the seven pointer, which has a 17 inch spread and 5 inch bases,” said Lou, shown above at right, with his buck and his friend John Hale.
Though Lou does not feel that the rut is there yet in his area, it is very close and the distinction between early and peak rut is blurred.
Daytime movement: In northern Alabama, daytime activity is picking up. “The rut has blown wide open in most of North Alabama, my Dad shot a really nice 10 point this past weekend with two does,” said Shane Dempsey. Shane reports that his Dad had knee replacement surgery three weeks ago, but got out anyway with his grandson's new 7mm-08 rifle. The ten-pointer and another buck followed two does right up the mountain to him. “I saw some young bucks chasing and am getting a lot of reports that the bucks are up and cruising. The next two weeks will be as good as it gets where I hunt,” said Shane.
If the rut is on, as it is in Alabama as well as Florida and Mississippi, then all deer will be moving day and night.
Estrous signs: Bucks following does, especially multiple bucks after the same doe, usually is a sure sign that they're in estrus. With chasing and following going on, many does are in estrus or coming into it soon.
X Factor: Bucks will be on the move 24/7 when does are in heat, but when the rain stops and the temperatures drop, movement will be rampant. Using some deer scents may bring in a buck that hasn’t found a doe.