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.

Dec. 16–Overall Activity Status: This week, I consulted with half a dozen hunting buddies to get a feel for hunting action from north to south in the region. While the hard rut action seems to be winding down in the northern half of Texas, that does not mean the hunting is slow. Cold weather has deer moving good. One friend reported seeing half a dozen decent bucks at a corn feeder. These bucks were regulars there before the rut, but vanished when they started to chase. Now they seem to be back in their old routine, eating corn, to some degree.

In Central Texas, still some good rut action. One friend reports that he’s seeing bucks from his bow stands, but they aren’t going to the feeders. Just trailing does that pass through. Rattling is still a good tactic in that area.

And in deep South Texas, we are just starting prime time. Expect the next two weeks to be best dates for seeing mature bucks in daylight. One friend reported seeing multiple small bucks bird-dogging does in the brush country, but no whoppers in the chase yet. This pre-rut phase would be a good time to try rattling in South Texas counties.

Rubs: My buddies reported rubs in the expected places–around corn feeders and field edges. Most rubs looked old, like they were made in the early season. Aboe is a photo of a big rub I found in west-central Texas last week.
Scrapes:** I checked a big scrape I’ve been monitoring all season in the Panhandle. Doesn’t look like anything has touched it in weeks. Same report from friends. Either they did not see them, or they were too busy watching real deer to be worrying about fresh sign!

Chasing: Reports are very localized on chase sightings. Did not hear any chase stories from far north Texas. In Central Texas, a few reports of mature bucks dogging does. And closer to the border, the only chasing so far was by small, young bucks.