Overall activity status: The deer season in some southern states have already closed, but some of the best hunting of the season is ahead in Mississippi, Alabama, eastern Louisiana, and northwest Florida. Deer in these areas are in rut phase, or close to it. One hunter in Pike County, Alabama believes that the best day of the year to bag a mature buck is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in late January.

Fighting: Alabama, Mississippi, and eastern Louisiana bucks are likely to bang heads now. Two bucks were observed fighting in Pike County, Alabama last week and this is likely to continue for another week or two in these areas.

Scrape making: D’Wayne West recently experienced some great rut action and bagged his biggest buck yet in Evergreen, Alabama. “The buck came in to a food plot alone,” reported friend Scott Perrodin. “The rut starts up there in about three weeks, but the says there are scrapes and rubs everywhere. He’s never hunted out of state and has never seen anything like it.” With the rut approaching in many of these areas, expect to see more scrapes.

Rub making: None specifically reported, but there should be many in areas where the rut is building.

Chasing: Numerous reports of chasing are coming in across the southern rut states. Andy Cobb of Alabama is seeing bucks following and chasing does. “I shot a doe last Saturday, and she was being followed by about six more does that had a nice eight-point in tow. I could not get a shot at the buck due to the thick cover. He looked like he was definitely chasing,” said Andy.

Daytime movement: Mature bucks moving in daylight means the rut is here. Pete Signorelli of Louisiana got the above daytime trail camera photo of a good mature buck that he’s hoping to bag soon. “One week left in rifle season, and the bucks are finally moving,” Pete reports.

Estrous signs: Bucks following and chasing does mean the females are in estrus or close to it. A hunter from Dallas County, Alabama commented that their rut is typically now but the action has been slow with only small bucks being seen, but that should change soon.

X-Factor: Time is running out for deer season in most areas–make the most of the remaining days.