There’s something exciting about finding the first fresh rub of the season. I saw mine on September 10, late in the evening. It was in a thick patch of mesquite trees, just off the shoulder of a two-track road. The mesquite was rubbed about thigh-and-waist high on a limb the size of a shovel handle. The peeled bark was a yellowish color and a broken limb, with green leaves still on it, lay under the rub. I guess it was less than 24 hours old.

So I started looking closer, wandering around through the mesquites. I followed a cow trail, weaving back and forth through the 10-foot high forest. I found three more rubbed mesquites in about a 300-yard area. The biggest was on a stout trunk bigger than my forearm. I took photos of them just to document the occasion. Maybe they’re from multiple deer. Or are they from the same buck?

Whitetail bucks seem right on schedule in the south-central zone. Early to mid-September is traditionally the time bucks shed their velvet. Mesquite is always a popular choice for bucks to rub. They seem to like the soft wood of younger mesquite trees, and a tree that gives a little as they push against it. Small to mid-sized cedars are another popular rub choice in my area. In any case, a fresh rub always means one thing: at least one racked buck is in the neighborhood.