The rut is on, at least in some areas of north Mississippi, and it has helped a young hunter exceed 320 total inches of antlers this season.
After killing a buck that grossed over 184 inches in Lowndes County in November, Marley Kate Herring, 10, of New Hope, added a 140-inch class 12-point Dec. 2 at a different camp in Monroe County. The latest buck was rutting.
“She made me pick her up early from school Friday, and I guess it paid off,” her dad and mentor Chris Herring said. “Not a bad year so far; a 180- and a 140-inch buck for a 10-year-old hunter. I guess I will not get to shoot this year.”
Not that he’s complaining, and it appears the best hunting is still ahead.
“We hunted a different farm in Monroe County,” Herring said. “It is a peanut farm where we have only taken two bucks over the past five years. The rut always comes in two to three weeks earlier there.”
And, it was happening this year, too.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Herring said. “Down here (New Hope in Lowndes County), the bucks are still together (in bachelor groups). Up there, they are fighting and chasing.”
Most of North Mississippi, the third of the state north of U.S. Highway 82, will begin to see advanced pre-rut activity in the next week with the chase starting soon after.
Central and Southwest Mississippi will follow about two weeks later, with the chase usually starting the week of Christmas. Southeast Mississippi will see rutting behavior much later, usually in January and often into February.
The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks has created a map showing the mean date of conception (breeding) for deer in Mississippi, based on historical data. To see it, visit here.
Click here to read other big-buck stories from the 2016-17 season.
And don’t forget to post photos of your bucks in the Mississippi Sportsman Big Buck Photo Contest, which is free and offers great monthly prize packages.