Overall activity status: Opening weekend of the Texas archery season was warm across the state. High temperatures reached the 90s in the southern counties. Friend Ronnie Parsons arrowed a fine 10-point on opening morning in west-central Texas, his 40th P&Y whitetail! I’ll give more details on his buck in my next report. He was the only one of my contacts to find success this first weekend. In the north, I saw the same faces on my trail camera–small bucks and does–and elected to stay home and mow the grass and not burn up my best stand too early in the season.

Fighting: Sparring has been reported by several hunters, but no tine-breaking, full-blown wars yet; just minor stuff to build neck muscles and establish who is boss. Scouting with a spotting scope, I even saw a couple of does fighting, standing on their hind legs and hitting each other with their front hooves.

Rub Making: More rubs reported as we near the end of September. All of the whitetails are out of velvet and I saw my first muley buck, a middle-aged 10-point, strip his velvet this weekend. But most of the mule deer in my area are still wearing fuzz.

Scrapes: None reported, but that should change in October.

Chasing: No rut-related chasing reported yet.

Daytime Movement: It’s still hot, 80- and 90-degree highs in the best deer counties. First and last hours are still the best time to watch.

Estrous Sign: None reported.

X Factor: It’s common in the heavily populated regions of the East Coast to find deer, and sometimes big bucks, living in backyards and eating out of bird feeders. In some of those situations you can get permission to hunt adjoining properties and find a real honey hole. Just a few acres might be enough to allow you to kill a big buck every year, if those few acres are in the right spot. This is true even in Texas. Obviously, check regulations and boundaries on where you can and cannot hunt, but if you see a deer crossing sign in or near a suburb surrounded by brush and mesquites, chances are that suburb affords the food, water and security deer need to grow old.