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South

Rut Reporter: Eric Bruce

States covered: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina

Bruce began deer hunting in 1973 when he was 13 years old. He has hunted all over the U.S. but hunts primarily in his home state of Georgia, where he has lived for most of his life. Bruce has taken numerous trophy bucks with a bow, including a Pope & Young buck in Kansas.

South

Photo Galleries

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Real-Time Updates From The South
  • January 21, 2014

    A Great Late Rut

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall Activity Status: The late-rut states of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and portions of Louisiana are experiencing excellent activity in most areas. Both the rut and cold temperatures are keeping deer moving, and many hunters are seeing and harvesting bucks.

    Eleven-year-old Adam Kimble of Louisiana was hunting with his dad Toby during a cold spell the Monday before and had an exciting encounter. Toby describes the action: "At 5:40 p.m., Adam says, 'Look, Dad, there's a good buck!' It was cloudy and cold from the Arctic blast, and he was feeding in a plot with a doe. I glassed him and told Adam that it's a wide 8-pointer, and to use my rifle because it has better optics. He was pumped because it's a cannon, a Weatherby 30-378 magnum. I told him to get ready for the buck to turn. [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 16, 2014

    In Late-Rut Regions, Plenty of Movement

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    By Eric Bruce

    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.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 10, 2014

    Rut is on in Northern Alabama, Florida Panhandle

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall activity status: “The rut is in full swing in northern Alabama. I am hearing of bucks chasing does across much of north Alabama,” reports Shane Dempsey. “I have seen some incredible rut activity the last two weeks, from bucks chasing does to a 120-inch 8-pointer breaking a sapling in half. Also, I have had several good friends kill 130-class 8-pointers. I expect more big bucks to fall in the next two weeks.”
     
    Northern Florida, southern and eastern Louisiana, and most of Mississippi are also seeing good overall activity due to the rut.
     
    Fighting: None reported, though any time you have bucks competing for estrous does and aggressive rub-making, there is bound to be some fighting going on and this is when it may occur in rut states. [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 8, 2014

    Some Hot Rut Pockets in the Cold

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall activity status: If you can bear to be out in the frigid cold, you just might see some deer. There are numerous reports of good activity and rutting action in several areas, but this recent frigid front may slow some movement. Reports are scattered about movement and rut activity, with chasing in some areas.
     
    Fighting: Some fighting is occurring in rut states. Alabama’s Andy Cobb has seen some sparring, but little else. “I saw a couple of 1.5-year-old bucks fighting, not sparring, but really going at it, pretty cool,” Cobb said. “Not seeing much chasing going on. I’m still seeing groups of does with no tending bucks.” Alabama, as well as Mississippi and parts of Florida and Louisiana, should be seeing more rutting overall in the weeks to come. [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 3, 2014

    Alabama Hunter Tags a Trophy During an “Amazing” Rut Season

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    By Eric Bruce

    Rut activity is rampant in some parts of the South, particularly northern Alabama. Consider the recent observations and activities of Alabama hunter Jared Byrd. He hunts in Madison County and has had some run-ins with some bruiser bucks lately.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 30, 2013

    Bucks Are on the Move in Three Late-Rut States

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall activity Status: "It's firing up, within the last week it's like the woods has come alive with deer activity," says Shane Dempsey, who hunts in northern Alabama. In that region, and in Mississippi and portions of Louisiana, the rut is either here or very close. Peak rut varies in these states by a few weeks, but it typically occurs during the month of January. Look for high levels of activity to continue. The peak rut is mostly over in Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina.

    Rub and scrape making: Bucks in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama will be rubbing and scraping more and more as the days go by and the rut approaches. Dempsey is noticing more horned trees and scrapes in Alabama. "My cameras show an increase in daylight buck activity," adds Dempsey.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 24, 2013

    Big Buck Alert: Another Pending Louisiana Record

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    By Eric Bruce

    The Mississippi and Louisiana rut is heating up like a chestnut roasting on an open fire. The rut is in high gear, and mature bucks are being seen and killed.

    As reported here, a giant buck was taken in Louisiana on November 9 by Jason Archer. The 210-inch trophy from Concordia Parish that may be the next Louisiana state record. But now that potential record is being challenged by another monster buck taken last Friday, December 20 (photo courtesy of LouisianaSportsman.com). Alex LeBlanc headed to his stand in the early afternoon in warm, humid, and windy weather--not exactly ideal whitetail hunting conditions, but as most experienced hunters know, anything can happen during the rut.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 20, 2013

    Late-Rut Regions Are Hot and Getting Hotter

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall Activity Status: Deer continue to move well in most areas, particularly in the rut-active states of Alabama and Mississippi, and in some portions of Florida and Louisiana. A good rut-hunt story comes out of this last state from Trent McIntosh, who invited his friend, Brent Pharis, to hunt with him on his lease last weekend.

    The two were hunting on the Red River near Benton, in the northwest part of Louisiana. With the right weather and wind, they headed for their stands. Trent describes the action: "Bucks started chasing in early November here and were hot and heavy by mid-November. So judging by that and my trail cam pics, we figured we should be right in the middle of second swing of rutting. Combine that with the deer really starting to hit the corn hard since most of the acorns are now gone, [it all made] for some pretty good conditions." The morning hunt was unsuccessful, so Trent switched Brent to another stand.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 18, 2013

    In Post-Rut Areas, Bucks Are After the Eats

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    By Eric Bruce

    If you live in the post-rut states of Arkansas, Georgia, or South Carolina, most of the buck movement and activity is over, and it can be tough to see a buck. There is some late second-rut action, but that can be spotty and very tough to predict. Your best bet is to hunt near thick cover and especially around food sources. Bucks have depleted their reserves after the rut and will be looking for plentiful and nutritious food sources.

    The acorns on the oak ridges and hillsides in October are mostly gone by December. However there may still be some nuts lying under the leaves. A few areas that I have scouted recently had evidence of deer rooting around in oak leaves, looking for remaining acorns. They desperately want acorns to eat, but they're scarce. Most deer are willing to search for them under the leaves and you may find a late season buck looking for some.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 13, 2013

    Right Now, the Rut is Where You Find It

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall Activity Status: The roller-coaster ride of weather patterns in the last few weeks has affected deer activity. There have been frigid cold snaps, humid warm temperatures, and rain fronts. Overall, movement is decent, but much depends on the weather when you are in the woods. We're in pre-rut in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are getting close to the rut in many of these areas, which increases activity.

    The rut can vary as much as the weather does. Brandon Rider hunts in Louisiana and had this to say: "I hunt three different rut activities in the state of Louisiana. I start off hunting in southwest Louisiana and the rut is on at the end of October to the third week in November. Then I head up north around Jackson/ Bienville Parishes of Louisiana and their rut is from the end of November till the third week of December. And now I am hunting 30 miles from my house near the Mississippi River Delta. Those deer are just starting to turn on. The bucks were in bachelor groups a week ago and now they're just starting to turn into the rutting phase, and it'll go to the middle of January hard," said Rider.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 11, 2013

    In Louisiana, It's the Chase Scene

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    By Eric Bruce

    Deer season is still open here in Georgia where I primarily hunt, and extends all the way to the end of January in some areas. However, the chances of seeing a mature buck have gone down, since most of the main rut activity is now over. Last week, though, I hunted a new area and saw numerous fresh scrapes. It had rained overnight and a buck had freshened up a long line of them.

    If the bucks have hard bone antler, biologists tell us, they are capable and interested in breeding. But if the does are not in estrus, the older mature bucks go back into hiding and resume being nocturnal. There is always the chance for the "second rut" involving does that weren't bred the first time. So any time you can spend in the woods isn't wasted.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 6, 2013

    Weather Slows Movement, but Some Bucks Are Prowling

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall Activity Status: The humid, warm, rainy weather has put a serious damper on deer hunting across the South. Temperatures as high as the 70s are unusual in December even in this part of the country, and it has slowed activity. It's post-rut in Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas, bucks are worn down, so hunters there aren't seeing a lot of movement.

    But activity is picking up some in the pre-rut states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama. While the deer are becoming more active with some early rut action, the warm muggy weather has prevented activity from accelerating.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 4, 2013

    Bucks in Alabama are Beginning to Stir

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    By Eric Bruce

    Most of the U.S., including half of the Southeast, experiences the whitetail rut in mid-November. Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama are the exceptions.

    Alabama has one of the latest ruts in the country, with bucks chasing does into January and February. That means that November is rather slow for deer activity, and December is just getting warmed up with some pre-rut signs. While Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas are all in post-rut, Alabama hunters are just now seeing early rubs and scrapes, with an occasional early chaser.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • December 3, 2013

    In Late-Rut States, Bucks Are on the Move

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall Activity Status: I'm seeing less activity here in Georgia due to what I believe is the waning of the rut. Deer are still active, but the peak appears to be over. Despite some frigid temperatures, movement seems subpar where I hunt, which is likely due to rut-weary deer and several months of being hunted.

    This is not case in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama, where whitetails are inching closer to the rut. Some reports of early chasing are coming in and pre-rut activities are cranking up.

    Fighting: Bucks in pre-rut states should expect to see an increase in sparring and some fighting as bucks establish their pecking order for the upcoming rut. Some head-banging can break out when two buck vie for an early estrous doe.

    [ Read Full Post ]

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