Rut Reporter Eric Bruce has been writing about hunting and fishing for newspapers and magazines for 25 years and hunts deer all over the South, including near his Georgia home. States covered: AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, FL.
Oct. 26–Overall Activity: The Oct. 23 full moon and warm temperatures appeared to suppress some daytime movement with more nocturnal activity. But with the pre-rut upon us, more bucks are moving during the day than previously. The onset of rifle season in some states has gotten more hunters in the woods and more good bucks are being seen and killed. The rut in ongoing in South Carolina with Georgia’s being close. Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi are still months away from the rut.
Fighting:** Frank Deaton reported seeing two bucks fighting in Morgan County, GA. The bucks were more than sparring and really going at it. Deaton choose the one seemingly winning the fight and killed the 8 pointer. The bucks appeared to be 2.5-year-olds; maybe the older mature buck fights are yet to come.
Rubs: Rubs are a daily activity for most bucks now. Torn-up trees are being seen throughout the woods, especially around scrapes and travel corridors. The rubs are being more vigorously rubbed with small trees ripped off and shredded.
Scrapes: Scrapes are really starting to show up around the south where the traditional November rut occurs. On one woodland road, I counted at least twelve scrapes in a 200 yard stretch. While it is not certain how often bucks are re-visiting scrapes, they are definitely making them now.
Chasing: Some chasing is going on in South Carolina. An 8-point buck taken at Bostick Plantation was chasing a doe. Most chasing is occurring at night, however, because of the heat.
Daytime Movement: Warm temperatures have suppressed much daytime movement, especially in South Carolina. Buck movement in Georgia is increasing some because of the pre-rut, but warm temperatures have tempered it somewhat.
Estrous Signs:** In coastal South Carolina, the rut in on according to Jimmy Haskins of Bostick Plantation. However the daytime temperatures in the 80’s have suppressed daytime movement. His trail cameras reveal that bucks are moving and working scrapes between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.
X Factor:** A good rain front blew through the South over the weekend and brought the first rain in a long time. This stimulated some movement but helped out food plots almost overnight. Steve McKenna of McKenna Plantation in Mississippi reported that his food plots grew an inch after their rain. Cooler temperatures should bring more deer activity soon.