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. 1–Overall Activity Status: The rut is raging in South Carolina! Reports of bucks chasing does in South Carolina and Georgia are coming in. The recent cold snap has got deer moving all across the southeast and has particularly stimulated rut activity in Georgia and South Carolina. Jimmy Haskins of Bostick Plantation in South Carolina reports six 8-pointers killed by his hunters since Saturday, and several were chasing does and their hocks were dark and smelly. The rut is still in the future for other states, but cooler weather has generated more sightings.
Fighting: Bucks are fighting in Georgia and South Carolina where the rut is occurring. Several hunters have rattled up bucks in Georgia . Haskins reports a harvested buck with fresh bruising on its head and neck from fighting.
Rubs: Rubs are still appearing but have tapered off somewhat in Georgia and South Carolina, since bucks are spending more time looking for or chasing does. Some bucks killed have heavy shavings on their antlers from rubbing.
Scrapes: Scrape-making and tending have also diminished slightly in Georgia and South Carolina, with bucks doing more searching than scraping. Bucks have been sight- or scent-checking scrapes while moving along.
Chasing:** Numerous reports of bucks chasing does in South Carolina and Georgia. In Georgia, a ten-pointer from Baldwin County and an eight-pointer (218 lbs.) from Crawford County were killed over the weekend. Both were chasing does.
Daytime Movement:** Buck movement during daytime hunting hours has increased significantly over the past week in Georgia and South Carolina. This was due to the cooler weather and the on-set of the rut. Lower temperatures in the other southeastern states have also gotten bucks moving more during the day.
Estrous Signs: Does-in-heat are becoming frequent in South Carolina as the peak of the rut is imminent. Haskins believes that they are at “the beginning of the good part” of the rut, which will be over the next seven days. Some does are just beginning to come into estrus in Georgia with the bulk of them coming into heat in the next few weeks.
X Factor:** If you hunt Georgia or South Carolina, the next couple weeks will be the best time to see and kill a rutting buck. A forecasted cold front is all that is needed to send the rut into high gear in these areas. Plan to be in the woods.