Because of the rut or the pre-rut, hunters are seeing good numbers of deer in the woods. In South Carolina, Arkansas, and Georgia, the rut is raging and good bucks are being seen and killed. Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama are inching closer to pre-rut, and rubs and scrapes are showing up increasingly. There are even a few accounts of some bucks in these states already chasing does, but the bulk is still to come.
Although the rut gets big bucks moving like nothing else, that can be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on the situation. It’s great that the mature bucks are up and moving during daylight, but not so good if their movements are so erratic and unpredictable.
Ryan Waldorf is a new hunter with one buck to his credit. He went hunting last Saturday in central Georgia and saw significant activity in the woods, including many does running around and several smaller bucks chasing them. But he also saw “the freak.”
The Freak was a buck so-named because of it unusually tall, narrow rack. Local hunters had been getting trail camera pictures of him for six years. But no one had gotten a shot at him or even seen him during the day. They had been watching him grow into an old buck on trail cam. One hunter who had keyed in on hunting him was still not able to get him.
But the rut brought him out last Saturday, and into the sights of a hunter with limited experience who was set up on an eight-acre tract. Using a lever action 7mm-08, Ryan saw the buck that morning but it escaped before he could shoot. He grunted, it returned, and Waldorf claimed the old buck that many had been after. The Freak, shown above with Waldorf, weighed 190 pounds and had a tall, narrow 4×5 nine-point rack. Those who had been following the buck said had been bigger last season, and believed that he was 7 or 8 years old.
I observed two bucks this weekend, a spike and a seven-pointer, cruising and making scrapes and rubs. It seems to point to the overall behavior of bucks still making rubs and scrapes in rut states if they’re not with or chasing a doe. However, it’s not likely that they’ll be revisited regularly, especially if they do catch up with a doe. Then the chasing and erratic behavior begins.
A significant cold front is blowing through the South this week, which should really ramp up deer movement.