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.


Overall Activity Status: Apparently, this is the year all of my friends are going to shoot their best-ever bucks! In just the last week, three good friends have shot huge, free-ranging giants. The most recent is a massive buck taken by Kelley Sims. Kelley shot his heavy-horned giant on November 15 early in the morning. The buck was trolling along a Panhandle river bottom, looking for does, when he stopped in an opening by the creek 175 yards away. Kelley was spying on the river bottom’s morning deer movement from a high mesa. Kelley’s .270 Weatherby Magnum put a 140 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet square in the buck’s chest, dropping him instantly. The buck’s bases are outrageous, with measurements around 6 ½-inches! The buck has long, split brow tines and one extra kicker off the left base. The typical 10-point has 13 total points. Counting the extras, he scores 171 B&C.

An interesting side note: Kelley had never seen that buck before despite many days of hunting since early October and two well-placed trail cameras in that creek bottom. Actually, he thinks he saw him briefly the evening before he shot him, but that was the first sighting of the 6 ½-year-old or older buck all season. It’s that time of year when “transient” bucks, bucks roaming outside their core area, could move through your hunting area in search of hot does.

Daytime Movement: No doubt bucks that were mostly vampires a month ago seem more visible this week. A combination of cold weather and the ever-increasing search for receptive does are likely responsible.
Rub Making:** Maybe it’s just because looking for rubs is part of my assignment associated with this blog, but this year I’ve seen as many as I can ever remember. None are on especially large diameter trees, but I’ve seen literally dozens of rubs on small trees. And I’m seeing them in an area with low to average deer densities (1 per 50 acres) compared with most parts of the country.

Scrapes: I’ve seen a few scrapes, but not nearly as many scrapes as rubs.
Chasing:** I’ve heard mixed reports from North Texas, Central Texas and Oklahoma. In some regions, friends report seeing virtually every buck on a chase. Yet others report seeing some bucks content to feed along side does in food plots or at corn feeders, showing no apparent interest in the opposite sex at all. The most common reports are sightings of lone bucks with single does, not necessarily chasing, but obviously a little “interest” associated with both parties. If a single doe lets a mature buck shadow her without running the other way, you can bet she’s close to ready to breed. And that buck is not going to leave her side till she is completely ready!