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.



“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” That’s a famous quote from some famous book I was supposed to have read in high school. All I remember about the book is that quote.

That seems a fitting description of the rut reports I’m getting across the region right now. It’s either on the upswing with multiple buck sightings, some chasing and even some fighting or nothing at all. You have to be in the right spot.

When a doe is in heat, she can stir a one mile or longer stretch of real estate into a frenzy. Every buck in the area can smell her when the wind blows and to the hunter in such a spot, action is everywhere.

But to someone hunting just a few miles away, where there are no does in heat yet, it can be a snooze fest. That’s why it can be best of times here, and worst of times over there. The rut can peak in certain pockets while just a few miles away it seems flat and uneventful.

For me, it’s been closer to the worst of times. The full moon peaked on November 10th. That would probably explain why I saw very little the two days before and after that. Still no sighting of the monster 10-point I had an encounter with at 15 yards on November sixth. But I’m betting I see him again before the month is over.

One friend hit the rattling horns together three different times in the course of an hour, and rattled in three different bucks. First, a 3-point, 20 minutes later, an 8-point and then finally a monster 170-class 10-point–one hour before dark. The big 10-point circled his stand and my buddy took the walking bow shot at what he estimated to be 30 yards. He shot low. When he checked the distance it was 34 yards. Bummer. But that buck is probably prowling those same woods right now, so he could see him again.

Another friend reported multiple buck sightings in one afternoon. All of the bucks were edgy, not wanting to share the same real estate around a corn feeder. Most of those bucks he’d never seen before, but none were old enough to warrant one of his tags.

I’m headed to Oklahoma for a few days to bowhunt up there. The timing of my trip being so close to the full moon might prove a flop, but I’m excited to see some new real estate.

And in case you’re wondering, no, I don’t need anyone to sit in my stand where I saw the 170-plus 10-point last week. I’ve already had two friends volunteer to “guard” that spot while I’m gone. Thanks buddies, but I think I’ll let that spot rest!