Brantley: Mixed Rut Reports in the Mid-South

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. 12: After a long spell of cool fall weather that was ideal for deer hunting, things have gotten a little stale this week across much of the Mid-South. Daytime highs have hit the 80-degree mark in a few areas. I sliced up deer jerky in shorts and flip-flops on my back deck yesterday afternoon.

Tennessee contacts (and readers of this blog) are saying that although the rut is kicking in a few areas, it's still slow across most of the state. My buddy Jimbo Robinson, who hunts near Jackson in west Tennessee, says that small bucks are up cruising and fighting, and he's finding plenty of new rubs and scrapes. But, he's still not seeing much in the way of chasing, and big buck activity has been slow, at least for him. He did, however, tell me about a 13-point stud taken by another west Tennessee hunter last weekend in Haywood county (see photo).

Farther east, Virginia hunter Doug Howlett reported increased action over the past week or so, with numerous sightings of bucks chasing does. Similar reports are coming out of West Virginia, according to threads I'm seeing in online hunting forums. But in much of North Carolina, forum users report that action has slowed significantly in the past week, despite a flurry of activity around Halloween.

Rut timing is certainly difficult to pinpoint in a large geographic location--and that's especially true in the Mid-South, where 150 miles may mean a month's worth of difference in peak rut timing. But warm weather certainly stifles daylight deer activity--that's universal--and the weather has been especially warm for a week now. With a big cold front working through this weekend, activity will hopefully increase.