Ray: Bucks Rubbing and Smashing Heads

Rut Reporter Brandon Ray is an expert on the region. Ray was born in Dallas and shot his first deer with a bow in Central Texas at the age of 15. The full-time freelance writer manages his family's Texas Panhandle ranch, is a licensed New Mexico guide, and last year took a 184 gross P&Y non-typical trophy. States covered: TX, OK, NM.

Nov. 7--Overall Activity Status: In the past three days (Nov 4-6) I've seen some exciting stuff. I watched two 3 ½-year-old 8-points smash heads and shove back and forth like antlered bulldozers. The two bucks had nearly identical, 110-inch racks. The fight lasted for about two minutes, till one was victorious and chased the loser into the brush. This was no early season sissy game of push and shove, this was a fight-to-the-death sort of clash over a nearby doe. Bucks definitely seem more frisky in the past week. Hunting, and buck sightings, should be really good over the next ten days.

Rub Making: Wow! I've seen a load of rubs this past week. I've seen a bunch through my binoculars, scouting some new country, and others up close on small mesquites in a large CRP field. They were everywhere. I watched two different bucks, one a muley and the other a whitetail, shred mesquite trees as I watch them through a spotting scope. Also a few cedar trees that were shredded.

Scrape Making: A couple of those same rubs, in the middle or on the edge of that CRP field, had large scrapes next to them. Nighttime activity I'm almost certain.
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Chasing:** I watched two small whitetail bucks, one a spike and the other a six point, chase single does relentlessly. I watched both chases, on two separate days, until both "couples" finally disappeared over the horizon, after jumping the fence into the neighbor's. Friends in Central Texas and North Texas report similar scenes of young bucks chasing does, but no reports yet of mature bucks in hot pursuit.
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Daytime Movement:** A friend in Oklahoma reports seeing two studs, one a 140-class 8-point and the other a 150-class 10-point buck, in daylight in a wheat field. He's got his eye on them, waiting for the rifle opener in late November. I'll be there, too!

This past week, friend South Cox (shown here examining a big rub) was hunting with me in the Texas Panhandle. Three big bucks, all muleys, that I'd only seen on my trail camera in the dark, were spotted by South near his ground blind in legal shooting hours. South and I saw lots of bucks this past week. Because South was hunting with a longbow, he needed a close shot. Did he get one? Stay tuned!