Rut Reporter Will Brantley of Murray, Kentucky, knows the region well. He spends 40 to 50 days each season in the Mid-South whitetail woods. Brantley shot his first deer at age 10 with a sidelock muzzleloader. States covered: KY, TN, WV, VA, NC.
Oct. 28–Overall Activity Status: Daylight activity has increased over the past few days. I’m still not seeing any big deer on their feet, but numerous smaller bucks are up and cruising. Quite a few dead deer are showing up on the roads in this area, too.
Fighting: With the pre-rut in full swing, bucks are no doubt doing plenty of fighting. I made a few fairly aggressive grunts at a young 8-pointer yesterday evening (see video). He heard them, but didn’t seem curious enough to walk my way and risk a beating from a larger buck. Now is definitely the time to keep a grunt call and rattling horns handy in the stand.
Rub making:** Rubs seemed to be a little late in appearing this year, but thrashed trees of all sizes are everywhere now, particularly in travel routes between food sources and bedding areas.
Scrape making:** Heavy. My best trail camera photos have been captured over active scrape lines recently.
Chasing:** Bucks are beginning to nose groups of does around a bit, but I’m not getting many reports of serious chasing yet.
Daytime movement:** The waning moon phase combined with cooler weather has definitely kick-started daylight deer activity the last couple days, although the best movement still seems to be the first hour after daylight and the last hour before dark.
Estrous signs:** Nothing much to report yet–I saw two grown does and two fawns feeding together in acorns yesterday afternoon.
X Factor: Daylight buck sightings should only increase in the coming days as they desperately search for the first estrous does. Traditionally, the next two weeks are the best of the season for a bowhunter in the mid-South (unless you happen to live southwest Tennessee–then you have a few more weeks to go–more on that in another post).