Brantley: Success in the Late Rut

Rut Reporter Will Brantley of Murray, Kentucky, knows the region well. He spends 40 to 50 days each season in … Continued

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.

Alabama hunter Eddie Fields ventured out of state a week ago and had a front-row seat to some great rut action in southwest Tennessee. “This is my third year hunting over there, and the deer were rutting pretty hard,” he says. “The first afternoon was hot–I sat in a shooting house wearing nothing more than a pair of blue jeans and a light jacket. But it was in a great spot. I had 400 yards of standing corn on my right, and big green fields on my left.”

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Late that evening, Eddie watched as a doe stepped into the green field with a small 6-pointer following behind her. “I was watching those deer and happened to glance in the other direction. That’s when I saw this huge buck loping across the green field. I’m sure he’d been chasing a doe, but she’d already come through, and I never saw her. He was just about to make it into a thick CRP field, so I threw my gun up and hollered at him, trying to get him to stop.”

The buck was on a mission, though, and never checked up. Eddie followed him through the crosshairs and squeezed the trigger just before the buck disappeared into the CRP. He climbed out of the shooting house, found a little blood in the green field, and called his buddy, Mike, who owns the ground where he was hunting. After a short search, they found the buck piled up in the CRP, not far from where he’d disappeared. Eddie’s shot had hit him through both shoulders.

“After that day, it turned cold, and bucks were chasing does everywhere the next few days,” Eddie says. “There was one morning that I swear I saw 20 little bucks out cruising and chasing.”

Southwest Tennessee’s rut typically peaks around the first of December–several weeks later than the rest of the Mid-South region. Although my Tennessee contacts tell me things are slowing down now, Eddie Fields was hunting there right on time.