Overall Activity Status: We took a drive through the countryside this morning to scout for ducks but the deer, not the ducks, stole the show. With temperatures in the teens, it was bone-chilling cold outside. Deer were everywhere. We lost count of the number of does, fawns, and young bucks we saw, and we even got a glimpse of one heavy-racked trophy running through the timber. Usually, there’s a period of very slow movement around here immediately following gun season. That certainly wasn’t the case this morning.
Fighting: I pulled a trail camera yesterday and had captured the above shot of two bucks squaring off. That was back on the 18th. There should still be some fighting going on, but that action will be slowing in the coming weeks as we enter the post-rut.
Rub making: I haven’t seen many fresh rubs or scrapes lately, since the deer herd has been in the peak breeding phase.
Scrape making: See above.
Chasing: As Mid-South guide Harry Pozniak noted in my earlier post this week, the primary rut has seemed just a tad late this year, and there’s still some chasing going on right now.
Daytime movement:** Spend some time working outside in this cold air and then see how easy it is to bypass a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers. Your body burns extra calories when it’s cold. Deer are no different. So long as the cold weather sticks around, they have to refuel to keep warm. And refueling means moving.
Estrous signs: Most adult does have been bred by this point, but there could be a few holdouts left. Secondary rut activity is a few weeks away.
X Factor: Late food plots. Often, our weather in the Mid-South is mild enough that we can hunt green clover, chicory, and oat plots right up through the end of season. But we’ve already had a couple hard freezes this year, and it’s not even December yet. Those plots will be going dormant very soon. And that means the focus will shift to more traditional late-season foods. Turnips and other brassicas will be coming into their own now. Of course, any remaining corn or standing soybeans are worth your attention as we enter the late season.