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.
Nov. 6–Overall Activity Status: The rut is ongoing in South Carolina and right on the brink in Georgia. Rain storms blew through earlier in the week and brought colder and windier weather which should spur even more movement and rut activity. Numerous reports of bucks chasing does are coming in from Georgia and South Carolina. Some of the does may not be quite ready, but bucks are still following and checking them out. Expect most of the does to come into estrus in the next couple weeks, which will bring out even more chasing, fighting, and the emergence of the biggest and most mature trophy bucks. Other southeastern states are still weeks away from the rut, but chilly temperatures and pre-rut conditions are stimulating more movement.
Fighting:** Fighting is happening in Georgia and South Carolina, with some light sparring in other states. A hunter in Georgia found two nice bucks locked together from fighting, with one already dead. The other was dispatched. Expect bucks to tassle in competition for does in Georgia and South Carolina as the rut continues.
Rubbing: Continuing throughout the South. Rutting bucks will rub occasionally to express dominance or relieve aggression. As the pre-rut approaches in other (non-rut) states, rubs will increase as bucks mark their territory. Most rubs now are aggressive with trees being thrashed and torn up.
Scraping:** Scraping is now common around travel corridors, field edges, and feeding areas in Georgia and South Carolina. Bucks in those states are rutting and will make scrapes as they search for does, but are less likely to re-visit them regularly. Scraping is beginning to pop up in other southern states and a re-visit may be more likely.
Chasing:** Many of the trophy bucks being seen and killed in Georgia and South Carolina had been following does. No chasing yet in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
Daytime Movement: November’s cooler temperatures stimulate more daytime movement. Deer are moving at all hours in the rutting states of Georgia and South Carolina, while other states are seeing mainly feeding movement.
Estrous Signs:** Plenty of estrous activity in South Carolina and the start of it in Georgia. Georgia will see more does coming into heat in the next few weeks, and hunters are already reporting chasing and deer with dark, stinky hocks.
X Factor:** The recent cooler temperatures have spawned more movement across the south. Bucks are on the move more than ever.