Overall Activity Status: Mornings seem better than afternoons for scouting right now, and it’s been that way for a couple of weeks. I think cooler morning vs afternoon temperature is the reason you see more deer at sunrise than sunset. On Saturday September 21 it was a cool 50 degrees at my place in the Panhandle. I watched one mature 8-point up and feeding until 9:30 am before he disappeared into a draw crowded with thick cedars.
Fighting: I watched that same mature 8-point, a buck probably 5 ½-years-old with matching kickers on both G-2’s, lock antlers with two smaller bucks near a corn feeder. The sparring match lasted only a few seconds. Just long enough to let the little guys know who was boss.
Rub Making: Everyone I’ve talked to in North Texas and the Panhandle has reported whitetail bucks are hard-horned, either seen in person or on scouting cameras. That said, the opposite is true of mule deer. All the mule deer bucks I’ve seen in the Panhandle are still in full velvet. I found several fresh rubs this weekend in deer country, including the one in the photo on a mesquite tree. Throughout the south central region, mesquites are one of the most popular trees for whitetails to rub on.
Scrape Making: None reported yet.
Chasing: I watched that same mature 8-point chase both small bucks and a couple of does around a corn feeder. The chasing seemed more to do with hogging the free eats for himself than it did anything to do with the rut.
Daytime Movement: Given the choice, I would scout the first hour of the morning, not the last hour of the day. Cooler weather means more movement mornings in daylight than hot afternoons.
Estrous Sign: None seen yet.
X Factor: Texas’ archery-only deer season opens September 28. Expect warm weather across the region for opening weekend. If your property is dry and water is limited, consider hunting near a windmill or pond midday and afternoons. I’d sit near a corn feeder in the morning.