Rut Reporter Brandon Ray is an expert on the region. 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 nontypical trophy. States covered: TX, OK, NM

Oct. 19–Overall Activity: Temperatures remain hot across Texas, in the 80s most afternoons statewide. Morning temps have been cooler, 40s and 50s in some areas. I’m seeing decent action the first 30 and last 30 minutes of the day, but a couple of big bucks I’ve seen on my trail cameras are still no-shows in the daylight. I had a big 150-class 10-point tease me again and walk around my stand, just out of bow range, right at sunset.


My friend Ronnie Parsons, an ace big buck killer with 31 Pope & Young deer to his credit, has been stumped the first two weeks of October. Bucks that were regulars on his trail cameras near corn feeders a month ago have disappeared. Parsons thinks it is due to a 1-inch rain the ranch he hunts in west-central Texas received just days before bow season opened. He speculates that deer are eating newly sprouted forbs and weeds, due to the rain, so they are not as interested in the free feed at the feeders.

Rub Making: My friend, Clint Hukill, watched a fine 8-point whitetail thrash a cedar tree before walking past his ground blind in the Texas Panhandle. An ambush spot between thick cedars where the deer bed and a large wheat field where they feed in the evenings. After polishing up a large rub, the big-bodied whitetail intimidated some nearby mule deer bucks before giving Clint a broadside shot. Clint thumped the 125-inch 8-point shown here, a buck he’d been tracking on his mostly mule deer property for three years. The buck was 5 ½-years-old and he thinks the mule deer bucks are glad he’s gone, because he was an intimidator and a fighter!
Scrape Making:** My circle of friends have not reported any new scrapes.
Chasing:** Seen some bucks posturing to each other, establishing their rank in the herd, but no bucks chasing does yet.
Daytime Movement:** Just like last week, the first and last half hour of the day are best for catching deer on their feet, mostly due to daytime heat.