It’s the day after Kentucky’s gun season and nasty cold outside as I write this. Harry Pozniak, owner of River Valley Farms in Cadiz, Kentucky, says that many bucks are locked down with does right now, but some chasing is still going on.
“I think maybe we’re halfway through the peak breeding,” he said. “I shot a doe last night that wasn’t close to coming into heat yet. The primary rut seems just a bit late this season, and it’s been kind of spotty.”
Pozniak’s clients enjoyed a successful gun season with some lively activity, though. “Twelve of our 18 hunters in camp during gun season killed bucks, and everyone had an opportunity. I shot a really nice buck myself (shown in the photo above) on the afternoon of the 15th.”
Pozniak noted that during the second week of the season–when we had a full moon and warm weather–all the bucks were shot between the hours of 10 and 2.
Right now, the weather is very cold, with overnight lows dipping into the teens. Combine that with waning rut activity, and quality food sources will soon become a key focus for any hunt plan. Pozniak says he’s finding deer eating on a bit of everything right now. Acorns are good where they’re still available, but oat plots, Biologic plots, alfalfa and soybeans are all getting attention on his farms.
There’s plenty of gun hunting to be had in the weeks ahead across much of the Mid-South. Things are just getting going down in Tennessee. West Tennessee hunters in particular should be seeing a nice uptick in rut activity during the coming days. Peak breeding in that region typically takes place in early December.
Elsewhere, hunters can begin anticipating some secondary rut activity. Guides like Pozniak and Snipe Creek’s Carl Doran favor that time of year for killing some truly giant bucks. Fewer hunters are in the woods then, but Pozniak says the lessened competition isn’t the only reason to hunt. The rut action can be better as well.
“The activity is often more visible because younger does are the ones being chased, and they’re not as savvy about avoiding the open areas as the mature does are,” he says. “I think the late Kentucky muzzleloader season (which runs Dec. 14-22) could be off the hook this year.”