It’s the region that made Odocoileus virginianus famous: Classic woodland habitat with a perfect mix of ag fields and bottomland. 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: Oct. 4: After two weeks of near-record high temperatures in September that virtually shut down daylight deer activity, a stout cold front moved through the Mid-South last week, and it finally feels like fall outside. Overnight lows are forecast to dip into the 40s for the next 10 days. Daylight deer activity has increased. Fighting: I watched two little bucks spar several days ago, but nothing serious yet. Bachelor groups are just now breaking up.

Rub Making: Light activity thus far

Scrape Making: I’m seeing a few small, scattered scrapes here and there, but nothing major.

Chasing: Not yet

Daytime Movement: A plentiful mast crop and cooler weather in the west Kentucky/west Tennessee area has definitely increased daylight activity in the last week. I eased in to hunt a food plot at 4:30 central time Tuesday afternoon and bumped a half dozen deer out of it.

Estrous Signs: Nothing yet–does and fawns are still together for the most part.

X Factor: Within the next two weeks, provided the weather remains favorable, I think we’ll see a flurry of rubbing and scraping activity in this area. Based on experience from seasons past, the best part of the pre-rut in western Kentucky, when bucks are on their feet and acting foolish at all hours of the day, is about four weeks away.