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.
This week’s first report is a classic good news/bad news tale. The good news is rain. Considering the ongoing drought, rainfall is bigger news than someone killing a Booner buck!
Across eastern New Mexico, north Texas and western Oklahoma, a large, slow-moving storm dumped much-needed rain across the region. At my house we got .5-inches. Some counties received as much as 2-4 inches. The rainfall is obviously too late to help with antler growth, but given the forecast for warmer weather this week, it should cause some weeds and forbs to sprout up. The deer will be happy. And added ground moisture should help recently planted wheat in some agricultural areas. Wheat is an important winter food source for deer in some counties.
The bad news is most of my contacts reported minimal daylight deer movement. My friend Ronnie Parsons, fresh off killing a P&Y buck on opening day one week ago, reports zero action this weekend at his west-central Texas lease. Only a few sightings of does and young bucks. Another source reports the same thing in north Texas. He knows the big bucks are there, he sees them at night on his trail cameras, but by daylight there is little movement. More rubs are showing up as well.
Another friend reported seeing two good bucks this weekend, 140-150-class bruisers. The bad news? Both bucks had busted racks. Is that a product of the added stress from the drought and a poor diet this spring and summer? Maybe. Maybe that poor nutrition and stress meant antlers were more brittle and more likely to break, at least in his area.
Despite sour reports from my buddies, I still like early October. The rut is a long way off still, but bucks are thinking only with their stomachs. Hunt near the food. When a major weather change is forecast, like a drop in temperature, front rolling through or even rain, I like to hunt just before the change and just after.
This weekend, hunting just after that .5 inch rain, the temperature dropped 20 degrees from the previous couple of days. I knew it was a good time to hunt. So I headed to a new set-up on a fence crossing. The results? You’ll have to wait for the next report. If you like big mule deer, be sure to tune in!