Overall Activity Status: We are near the end of deer season. In Texas’ north zone, the general season ends on January 5. In South Texas, the season ends January 19. In Oklahoma, bow season ends January 15. It’s time to make time to get to the woods before it is over.
Fighting: I’ve watched a couple of bucks around corn feeders lower their heads at each other and spar a little, but it’s mostly an older buck showing a younger buck who is boss and it only lasts a few seconds. Lots of reports of broken antlers in the northern half of the region on post-rut bucks.
Rub Making: Old sign at this point in the season.
Scrape Making: None reported.
Chasing: The rut is still happening in deep South Texas. My sources say we are now on the downward slide from the peak about a week ago.
Daytime Movement: Snow and cold temperatures hit the northern half of the region this past weekend. I noticed deer moving later in the mornings and earlier in the afternoons, trying to recoup calories needed to stay warm in the frigid weather.
Estrous Signs: Hunters talk about the “second” rut, or the time when does that were not bred a month ago cycle again, starting another flurry of buck activity. But in low deer density areas, like where I hunt often in the Panhandle, I rarely see that. The buck to doe ratio where I hunt is likely 1 to 1. There may even be a few more bucks than does. So I think the first rut is very intense because of low doe numbers, and it is rare for one to not get bred that first time. So there is essentially no “second” rut here. But in places with higher deer numbers or higher doe ratios, the second rut is definitely something to remember for late season action.
X factor: There are still plenty of bucks to be had. Ronnie Parsons shot the fine buck in this week’s photo in west-central Texas. Parsons named the 6×4 whitetail “64,” having some history with him all season. The buck’s rack grossed 136 and netted 131 P&Y. It is Parson’s 39th P&Y buck from Texas, all of them taken on his own, on a lease he shares with other hunters.