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.
Overall Activity Status:** Over the past week, buck activity has been outstanding at all hours of the day, but especially from daylight till lunchtime. We had some cold weather in this region last week. The timing for that couldn’t have been better.


Fighting: I’m hearing lots of reports of guys rattling bucks in. Fighting activity may taper off soon, though, (at least in frequency) as the peak of breeding is just around the corner.
Rub making:** New rubs aren’t appearing as frequently, but most of the new ones I’m seeing are the large, sign-post type rubs that we all love to find.

Scrape making: Still plenty of scraping activity taking place, but much of the activity seems to be more confined to a few larger scrapes, rather than along actual scrape lines.

Chasing: Chasing seems to be at a fevered pitch in my particular area; hunters in other portions of Kentucky are reporting much slower activity. Reports from contacts in Virginia tell me chasing has exploded there within the last week; down in Tennessee, a buddy says that he’s only seeing a few little bucks chasing does thus far.

Daytime movement: I placed a trail cam over a field last week and captured pictures of bucks every single day (see above). Some of them were chasing does; others were just cruising. Over the weekend, I saw good buck movement well up into the mid-morning hours, and arrowed a 9-pointer over a scent trail at around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Estrous signs: Quite a few does seem to be coming into estrus. I’m seeing lone does everywhere and capturing quite a few of them on trail cams. But, I also saw a “family group” of eight does and fawns last Thursday evening, so the best may be yet to come.

X Factor: Plenty more rut activity should be on tap for the next two weeks. Although a warm spell has taken hold this week and temperatures are forecast to hit 70 degrees every day through Friday, a big cold front is forecast for the weekend. Saturday is opening day of Kentucky’s modern gun season, and it’s supposed to be cold and rainy–expect some giants to fall.