All states in the South have open deer seasons in one form or another. The last to open was Alabama, where archery season began last week.
Things have started off slowly for ‘Bama hunters, not surprisingly, as their rut is still months away. Shane Dempsey was in the woods for the Alabama opener and only got to hunt a few hours with no luck. “I talked to several hunters and movement seems to be slow so far in north Alabama. We have another really good acorn crop this year which is making the deer hard to pattern,” Shane reports. “I have found numerous rubs and scrapes, which I suspect is from where the velvet is coming off and bucks are starting to claim their territory.”
However, Shane also noted this: “For the most part, bucks are still in their bachelor groups and haven’t yet started breaking up. Hopefully the cooler weather moving into North Alabama this weekend will get the deer moving a little better.”
We reported on Shane last December when he bagged a tremendous 17-point Alabama buck. He has some trail camera pictures of more good bucks that he is hoping to get a crack at this season He also sent me trail cam pics of two large bucks that were sparring in September. With the Alabama rut typically starting in late December, it seems premature for the bucks to already be banging heads.
We have received other reports across the South of seemingly early rut behavior. Hunters have seen bucks following does. Rubbing and scraping is at a high level in Arkansas, South Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia, while bucks in Mississippi, Florida and Alabama are just getting started.
It seems that any time bucks get together, after their velvet is shed, that they are apt to posture and spar. Many hunters got trail cam pictures of bucks battling in most Southern states. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the rut is here, but it indicates that the bucks may be ready and also full of anticipation.
In central Arkansas, Matt Horton has been seeing some rubs and scrapes, but has been seeing many more in the last week. “There is no chasing yet,” he says. “Last week I saw three bucks together so they’re not completely broken up yet.” Muzzleloader season begins in Arkansas this Saturday, October 20.
In Georgia, it’s getting closer to pre-rut with more rubs and scrapes cropping up. Last week I arrowed two does that were feeding in a swampy area. Georgia gun season also begins this Saturday.