Reports about the rut gaining steam are coming in from many areas. Some of the late rut regions peak around Christmas, while others may be as late as Presidents Day in mid-February. Areas that are hot now include southern and eastern Louisiana, and most of Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama.
Actually seeing a buck chasing a doe is a clue that that the rut is on. However, sometimes an eager buck will follow and harass a doe, hoping that she is or will soon come into estrus.
But the most positive proof would be to actually see a buck mount a doe. Not many hunters get see that rare scene. The next best thing would be to capture it on a trail camera. That's exactly what John Donalson did last week.
John lives in southwest Georgia, which borders northern Florida and southeastern Alabama, where the rut runs later than other regions. Does will come into estrus from late December through February in those areas. "We are in Mitchell County in southwest Georgia," said John. "This is part of our primary rut that starts around December 20 normally. We will see rutting activity into late February and early March."
His trail cam pictures were taken during one of the coldest weeks in a long time, with temperatures dipping into the single digits. The cold weather and onset of the rut likely contributed to these amazing photographs.
The revealing photographs show a sequence of shots with a very nice trophy buck at the site of a mineral lick and some corn (legal in south Georgia). A doe can be seen in some of the photos with her tail held to the side, an obvious indication that she is ready to be bred. The buck is mounting her in some of the photos, which will only happen when she is truly in estrus.
The photos obviously were taken during daylight hours, which shows how just strong the mating urge is in bucks.
The best time of the year is here for many areas across the south. Does are standing to be bred which means the trophy bucks are out there servicing them. Now is the time to catch one in action and put your tag on him.