Tracking the rut

This buck is shedding his velvet. What bowhunter wouldn’t welcome this scene in front of their stand?

No matter the deer population or the ratio of does-to-bucks, there “will be a rut,” said William McKinley, the deer program coordinator for the MDWFP. It is a staggered start, varying region by region and even property by property.

Exactly when does enter estrus, causing bucks to go crazy, is triggered by a number of factors, including photoperiod (amount of daylight), lunar activity, temperature, and genetics.

Nocturnal bucks will begin traveling during the daylight, and hunters will have their best shot at taking older, more mature trophies.

To help track the rut, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has posted a graphic representation of the average rutting time for the entire state. It can be found at under the hunting icon and used as a baseline to predict when a hunter needs to plan to be in the woods, and can plan things like vacation schedules well ahead of the season.

About David Hawkins 195 Articles
David Hawkins is a freelance writer living in Forest. He can be reached at

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