Bruce: Slowly Taking Shape

_All about the Dixie deer rut, from the swamps and pines to the beanfields and the Ozarks. 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 _

Overall Activity Status: Oct. 8: Things are starting off slowly as is typical. With ruts as late as January-February in some southern states, we won't see rut activity for a while there. But check back here for updates.
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Fighting:** No reports yet.
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Rub Making**: Rubs are beginning to appear throughout the woods in parts of Georgia, but it's quiet elsewhere.

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Scrape Making:** Nothing yet. Bucks are concentrating on food and not does. Bachelors groups are still being seen. Deer are feeding on soft mast; persimmons and a few remaining muscadines. Acorns are starting to fall and it appears they are falling earlier than usual likely due to the very dry weather. White, red, and water oaks are dropping in Georgia. "They're eating persimmons like crazy," reports Mississippi's Steve McKenna of McKenna Ranch.
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Chasing:** Nothing going on rut-wise. Bucks are still being seen together, says Water Valley Lodge's Jake Utsey.
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Daytime Movement:** Very little. Bucks are still nocturnal, according to Daniel & David Barnett at Wildlife Farms in Arkansas.
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Estrous Signs:** Nothing yet.

X Factor: A few huge bucks have been killed while feeding in the past couple of weeks. Jason Dickson of Conyers, Georgia killed a 160-class 16-pointer in Rockdale County that was feeding on muscadines. Mike Strickland bowkilled a 190-class buck in Harris county and Glenn Garner of Pine Mountain arrowed a 12-pointer grossing 171 inches, also in Harris county. The photos shown above of of Garner's buck, caught on trail camera while in velvet and after Garner's hunt. Both Stickland and Garner's bucks were taken around corn and soybeans.