When to be in the the woods

A buck performs a lip curl, or Fleming Gesture, to check for doe urine in the area. The move allows more air to pass a sensing gland in the roof of the mouth.

Every hunter knows the best time to be on stand is when deer are rutting. That’s when bucks start looking for love and let their guard down.

And that means those trophies that normally wouldn’t even think about passing your hunting spot during daylight hours will be out and about.

But how do you know when deer in your area are most likely to be running around with that crazed look?

Glad you asked.

The Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Fisheries doesn’t track all rutting activity, but it has collected data providing clues to when deer breed in each area of the state.

MDWFP’s Chad Dacus said his agency track mean conception dates of deer throughout the state by sampling pregnant does each spring and determining conception dates.

The result: A map detailing when deer in each area of Mississippi are most likely to be in breeding frenzies.

NOTE: A simulated mean conception date is depicted on the accompanying map, not the peak rut.

According to MDWFP, most deer behavior studies have shown that hunter-observable rutting activity peaks about two weeks prior to the mean breeding date. Therefore, simply subtract about two weeks from the mean conception date in an area to obtain the simulated peak rut period.

For example, in the northwest Delta the mean  conception date range is Dec. 6-13, which would translate into peak rutting activity beginning around Nov. 22.

So just locate where you hunt and make plans to be in the woods.

About Andy Crawford 279 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.