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How the Southern Whitetail Rut Differs from the Rest of the Country

Deep South white-tailed bucks follow a much different rut cycle than their family members to the north. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Flinn)
Deep South white-tailed bucks follow a much different rut cycle than their family members to the north. (Photo courtesy of Jeremy Flinn)

The small window of rut-crazed activity in regions such as the Midwest and Northeast is much different than the long drawn-out whitetail rut of the Deep South

It might seem crazy to millions of whitetail hunters, but in the month of December, the rut is about to start. It’s true … for some areas. Not true for Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and not even further south in states like Oklahoma and Tennessee. But further south, when the last month of the year rolls up on the calendar, the rut is near.

Yes, for the Deep South, the months of December and January will be some of the best hunting of the year. From South Texas to South Alabama, the bucks are cranked up and the does are coming into estrous. However, unlike the Midwest or Northeast where there are two weeks of can’t-miss action, the southern rut is much longer.

At first glance, hunters might be thinking “Two months of rut … why hunt anywhere else?” Although southern hunters may encounter some high rutting activity across a two-month period, they also will encounter some completely dead days.

Further north, where hunters may experience a couple of dead days during the rut, in the south a dead period may last a couple weeks. A lot of southerners refer to this as a “drip rut.” Meaning, there will be some great days, some decent days, and some poor days over the two-month period. What’s even crazier is properties less than an hour apart can have completely different peak breeding times.

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STARTING OCT 15
STARTING OCT 15