Overall Activity Status: Cooler temperatures are moving into the South, which typically stimulates more activity. Louisiana hunters are seeing deer movement in the mornings, primarily with some seeing deer up and around until 10 a.m. Dusk remains a good time to see deer if you can get a shot before darkness falls. Expect increased movement with cooler weather, but also as it gets closer to pre-rut in South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
Fighting: Bucks butting heads is on the increase. One of my trail cams took the photo above on October 5, showing a spike and a seven-pointer sparring at about 7 a.m. The same two bucks went at it again at the same location at 7 p.m. It’s doubtful the bucks were fighting over a doe, but likely just trying out their tactics and burning some energy. Bucks are definitely getting more testy as pre-rut approaches.
Rub making: Rubbing is definitely on the increase. One white oak ridge I scouted Saturday easily had over 30 rubs Finger-size to forearm-size trees were all scratched up. Look for rubbed trees around food sources, especially oak ridges.
Scrape making: The same white oak ridge where I spotted the 30-plus rubs was also littered with scrapes. As is usually the case, bucks will be making rubs and scrapes in the same areas which reveal excellent places to set up a stand and wait on a buck.
Chasing**: A few reports of some chasing is coming in. Though is seems early even in places with a November rut, there are a few over-anxious bucks after does already, but it’s not the norm – yet.
Daytime movement: Most hunters are reporting decent daytime movement. In Mississippi and Louisiana, where the season has recently opened, more hunters in the woods means more deer being seen. Acorns, pre-rut, and cooler weather all contribute to more movement.
Estrous signs: None yet, though some of the bucks are anxious for them to start.
X Factor: With the pre-rut getting very close in South Carolina, Arkansas, Georgia, and parts of Louisiana, it may be worth trying some calling and light rattling to lure in an eager buck. Grunts, bleats like the “can” call, and light rattling that simulates sparring may be the ticket to bring a curious buck into range.