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.

Nov. 2: If you’re a Mid-South bowhunter, you need to get your butt into the stand in the next two or three days. Bucks are on their feet looking for does that aren’t quite ready to breed yet. It’s one of the most productive hunting times of the season, but it can be one of the most frustrating, too, because you (or at least I) really need those bucks to stand still in the open for a few seconds to get a shot. Standing still anywhere isn’t on their list of priorities right now.


Case in point: my hunt Halloween evening. I was sitting in a new stand my wife and I had hung on Saturday morning when a hot doe suddenly burst out of a thicket right behind me. A big buck was about 30 seconds behind her and was soon within 15 yards of my tree, but totally obscured by thick brush. I needed him to take 10 more steps, but he didn’t–instead, he stopped, checked the wind, busted me, and was gone in an instant.


We’ve gotten trail camera pictures of some nice deer in that area recently. We’ve even named the bucks in these two photos “Chubs” and “John Redcorn” (we take our deer-naming seriously) because they’ve appeared so regularly. But I’d never seen the buck that winded me Sunday evening. Sorry, no photos or video of him from the stand, either–I was too busy holding my bow. But if you just want to see the area where I was hunting and listen to me babble about the “one that got away,” play the video below.