Editors Blog

Sizing Up Whitetail Rut Predictions for the South

Dan Schmidt with a Kentucky bow-kill\

June might be only a few hours old, but that doesn’t keep us from daydreaming about huge deer and the whitetail rut.

Fresh from my daily email inbox comes this note from longtime Deer & Deer Hunting subscriber Tom Fry:

"I have only been hunting for 3 years now (took this up late in life at 58). With that said I subscribed to D&DH for 3 years and look forward to and enjoy every issue. I have reviewed other hunting magazines and, from my perspective, D&DH is absolutely best. This year when I renewed my subscription, I was fortunate to also receive the "2011 Whitetail Rut Calendar." The pictures are terrific and the rut predictor is fantastic. The rut predictor will be extremely helpful to me during deer season.
"I live in Jacksonville, and you probably already know that deer season in Florida runs through the end of January. Needless to say after reviewing all the great rut information in the calendar from October 9 through December 31, I was disappointed that the month of January was not included in the predictions. Is there any were on the D&DH web site that I might be able to find what the predictions are for January 2012? I think it would be a great help to all those who subscribe to D&DH and hunt in Florida."
We’re on it, Tom. For other readers who might have been wondering the same thing about how the moon affects the rut in their area of the South, here are some more insights for this coming year’s rut from Charlie Alsheimer:

"The key for Tom, and anyone else who hunts this Southern rut, is knowing when does breed in his part of Florida," Alsheimer said.  "You can find this out by contacting a deer biologist near where you hunt, because, for example, in some parts of Florida peak breeding is in December an, in some parts, January.  I’ve even heard of areas where the breeding is in November.  Once the breeding month is known, you can plan on seeing chasing ramp up 2-3 days after the full moon, with prime breeding occurring 5-21 days after the full moon."
Want to know when the rut will occur in your area this year? Get Alsheimer’s exclusive rut predictions as an instant download.

4 thoughts on “Sizing Up Whitetail Rut Predictions for the South

  1. Bill Spruill

    Chuck you’re on the money! Generally I’m disappointed in D&DH coverrage of hunting in the South. I’ve seen fawns with spots as late as mid October in Fla and AL which would mean a very late rut. Alchiemer’s predictions may be valid for his area of NY but misleading for much of the South.

    I feel better for having this off my chest.

  2. Chuck Early

    Welcome to the club, Peter! I live in FLA and also started deer hunting relatively late in life (40), and I sympathize with your attempt to nail down the rut in your area. As much as I respect Mr. Alshiemer, his Southern rut predictions are not very accurate. The problem is that there are many "Southern" rutting periods and a difference of only a few miles can make a big difference in the timing. I live in the Sarasota/Bradenton area and my home club is in eastern Manatee Co. The rut there coincides with the mid-November period typically found in northern states. However, in Arcadia, less than an hour’s drive from my Manatee club, the rut is usually late July/early August! I also hunt SW GA and the rut there is pretty much the same time as the east Alabama rut in early to mid-January. A regional outdoor magazine has determined that there are as many as 9 different rut periods in GA and sometimes a difference of only 5 miles can make a huge difference in timing. the only solution: ask the locals and ask a bunch of them because you’re likely to find some difference of opinion. that’s why a local biologist is your best bet. Good luck!

  3. Daniel E. Schmidt

    Hi Peter,
    If your area normally experiences a December rut, you’d be looking at the week of Dec. 12, according to Alsheimer predictions. See the link in the blog post for more detail information. Best, Dan

  4. PETER

    can you help i’m hunting in ARKANSAS on the west side near Curby, when’s the rut this NOV. is my time any helpful tips will be I went last YEAR & MISSED OUT never used my license! rifle season ! thanks

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