As I have mentioned in previous posts, the South experiences a wide range of peak conception dates each year. The lockdown period in this region can be lingering, as bucks are likely to tend does on and off for several weeks. That makes it difficult to plan a quality hunt. The only thing you can do is get in your stand and wait for a buck that’s finished breeding one doe to go on the hunt for another.
Southern rut hunters have two good options this time of year, when a lot of breeding is taking place. Option A is to hunt close to thick bedding areas in hopes that a buck has a hot doe pinned down nearby. Option B is to stick to traditional rut stands such as pinch-points, funnels, and ridgelines in hopes that a buck between does will cruise through looking for his next girlfriend.
Overall Activity Status: Some bucks are locking down with does, but others are cruising. I’m receiving trail camera photos and videos of cruising bucks during the daytime and at night.
Fighting: I haven’t seen any fights the last few days, and my cameras aren’t showing any, either. I am still hearing reports of bucks locking antlers in certain parts of South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Rub Making: Rub making has tapered off in areas where breeding is occurring.
Scraping: Scraping activity has come to a screeching halt since big numbers of does began entering estrus. Expect cold scrapes to reopen after the majority of does have been bred.
Chasing: Bucks are chasing hard. I’ve watched numerous does being chased this week.
Estrous Signs: An increasing number of lone fawns suggests quite a few does are in estrus in South Carolina.
X-Factor: It’s still been pretty warm throughout the South, but a cold front blew through over the weekend. I expect the drop in temperatures to help the hunting over the next few days.