Rut Reporter Will Brantley of Murray, Kentucky, knows the region well. He spends 40 to 50 days each season in the Mid-South whitetail woods. Brantley shot his first deer at age 10 with a sidelock muzzleloader. States covered: KY, TN, WV, VA, NC.
Michelle and I were driving home Sunday after hunting fall turkeys all weekend. It was chilly, raining and nearing lunch time. We were in farm country, and the wide-open fields around us were bright green with their winter wheat cover crop.
I saw the doe run across the road 70 yards from the truck, and assuming there'd be more does behind her, I hit my brakes. The monster buck that appeared--mouth hanging open and oblivious to our vehicle, the road, the little buck behind him, or much of anything else outside of the doe's rear-end--definitely caught me by surprise. He was a solid 150-inch 10-pointer--maybe even a little bigger--and definitely the biggest buck I've seen in person all season.
I scrambled for the pocket-sized flip-camera I'd stashed in my turkey vest and managed to get 30 seconds of shaky footage as the two bucks dogged the doe in the wheat field 150 yards from the road. I wish the footage was better, because it was a really cool thing to see.
I've been reporting for two weeks now that the rut is largely over in the Mid-South, but that there's always the real possibility of a late-estrous doe to shake things up. This sighting proved that beyond any shadow of a doubt.