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.

Dec. 8: I’ve talked to several Kentucky deer hunters in the past week, and they all commented on an especially pronounced rut this season. We had a good cold snap that was timed perfectly with the peak of the chase phase this year. I saw great buck activity from Halloween up until about the 15th of November. My best day in the stand was Nov. 6.


Buddy Todd, managing director of Forest Lakes Lodge (888-783-5188), a guide service in western Kentucky just down the road from where I grew up, says their best activity was also during early November.

“That last week of bowhunting, just before gun season opened (Nov. 13), we were seeing big deer everywhere,” he says. “Our hunters shot lots of really nice bucks during gun season, too. The best one this year was a 180-class buck taken by a young girl (picture below) who was in camp with her family during the latter part of gun season.”

Although there’s a lot of deer season left–including Kentucky’s late muzzleloader season, which opens Saturday–it’s good to remember information on specific days like this if you’re planning to hunt the rut. After all, it won’t be too long before you’ll need to pencil tentative vacation days onto your calendar for next year…