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Photo Galleries

  • Giant Buck Alert: Kansas 18-Point Gross Scores 194
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  • New World Record 8-Point Whitetail
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Real-Time Updates From Our Rut Reporters
  • Secrets of the Whitetail Rut

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    By Scott Bestul


    Photo by Lance Krueger

    We deer hunters can never claim that we lack information. We know all about deer habits and habitat, preferred forage and growth rates, physiology and reproductive practices. We can identify the size of a deer by its tracks, its gender by its urine, and its current feeding preferences by its droppings. We watch deer on trail cams and name animals we've never seen in the flesh. So, is there such a thing as TMI—too much information—when it comes to whitetails?

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • 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 17, 2014

    A Look Back at the Season—and a Look Ahead

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    By Brandon Ray

    For most of us, deer season is over. Extended hunting is available in Texas on MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Permit) ranches. These extended dates allow some landowners to hunt through February in some counties to meet harvest objectives. But for most of us, whatever venison is in the freezer now will have to last us until next year.

    A few observations: In the Texas Panhandle where I live, we finished the 2013 calendar year five inches below normal on rainfall. And so far January has been dry. The whole region is dry and we are essentially starting year four of an extended drought. [ 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 15, 2014

    Most Deer Back on Feeding Patterns

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    By Brandon Ray

    Overall Activity Status: On January 10, hunting on an MLDP (Managed Lands Deer Permit) ranch in north Texas with an extended season, I went out one last time looking for a plump doe for the freezer. I glassed a riparian strip the last hour of the day and saw four bucks, but not a single doe. The bucks I saw were congregated around a corn feeder.

    Fighting: Robert Sanders, Temple Ranch manager in south Texas reported this: "This is the time of year when I find some ancient bucks dead near ponds that just couldn't make it through the stress of another breeding season. The other day I found two bucks locked up. It was a gruesome scene and wasn't a good one for pictures. The coyotes had eaten them alive."

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • January 13, 2014

    Bonus Report: A Memorial Hunt at the End of the Season

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    By Brandon Ray

    Lisa Armbruster is a hairdresser. She is a beautiful person both inside and out. While she clips my hair, we talk about deep subjects such as divorce, faith in God, and our children. And of course if anyone talks to me long enough, eventually we will talk about hunting.

    [ 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 10, 2014

    Rut Is Winding Down, But Not Out

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    By Brandon Ray

    While the rut is gone in the rest of the region, in the pear and thorns of the south Texas brush country, some bucks are still acting goofy. Robert Sanders, manager of the Temple Ranch had this to share on the current status of the rut. [ 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 8, 2014

    Deer Movement Slow in Cold Regions, but South Texas is Hopping

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    By Brandon Ray

    Overall activity status: I hunted the Texas Panhandle on Jan. 4 with friends. It was a frigid afternoon, with temps dropping well below freezing, and strong north winds. Typically just before a major front moves through, I see lots of deer movement. But on that afternoon it was the opposite. We saw only three does at a spot where I’ve been seeing four to six bucks regularly. The same predictable bucks were there on the trail camera the previous two days, but were obviously lying low directly in front of the incoming storm. [ 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

    Some Bucks Transitioning from Rut To Food

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    By Brandon Ray

    Overall activity status: Bucks in the north are on a classic late-season pattern—they're on the move later in the mornings and earlier in the afternoons, headed to food sources. The downsides to late-season buck hunting in this region are broken antlers and low body weight. It's difficult to judge age, and it's even possible for a buck you've targeted to lose his rack before you get him! If you're hunting does, look close to make sure it's not a buck that has shed his antlers.

    Fighting: No reports of fights, but lots of posturing of bucks to each other. Bucks are fatigued at this time of the season and would rather save calories and energy by glaring at their neighbor insead of starting a brawl.

    [ 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 28, 2013

    A Buck for Christmas

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    By Brandon Ray

    Christmas Day started with 6-year-old Emma wide-eyed and bouncing like a ball toward the lighted tree. Amy and I staggered to the living room in the pre-dawn hour while Emma shredded presents like a tornado. She made out like a bandit--a new bike, new doll, clothes, and more.

    By lunch we were all exhausted, but I decided it was a good afternoon to hunt by the river. The girls took a nap while I snuck away. I made it to my stand by 3 p.m. [ Read Full Post ]

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