The rut in Mississippi, Alabama, and eastern Louisiana is about to begin. Serious pre-rut activity and some initial chasing by eager bucks have begun. Most of Florida is still a little ways down the calendar.
Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, and western Louisiana have a more traditional and consistent mid-November rut. The rut is mostly over in these states, although there are still some scattered reports of isolated chasing. That “second rut”is likely caused by yearling does coming into their first estrous cycle, or by does that didn’t get bred the first time around.
The states of Louisiana and Mississippi have a rut that varies from region to region in their states. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries divides Louisiana into eight areas, each with its own seasons and rut times. Dave Moreland of the LDWF has created a Rut Calendar, which attempts to predict the breeding times in various areas of the state.
Area 1 and 6 are the eastern and southeastern portions along the Mississippi River and the Gulf. According to Moreland, the first breeding period for Area 1 and 6 is December 29 through January 12, with a second breeding period of January 27 to February 9. That would put these areas in pre-rut now, with bucks scraping and rubbing.
A hunter near Olla, Louisiana, in Area 1, saw small bucks chasing does and a buck tending a scrape this week. Around DeSoto and the Evangeline Parish in Area 2, hunters were seeing rut-crazy bucks around Thanksgiving. Another hunter predicts, based on his experiences, that the rut will be from Christmas through the first week in January in the West Feliciana region of Area 1 in eastern Louisiana.
Keep in mind that while the rut is one of the best times to see and kill a mature buck, it is not the only time, and rut activity can occur anytime, anywhere, during the fall and winter. Bucks in Florida are also nearing the rut, and rubs and scrapes should start appearing.