Dunno about SC rut,but up in MI where the rut is consistent/regular, the same thing happens. They boys are all hanging together through the summer, velvet is on, its a big bachelor party. Then they start rubbing the velvet off. But they all still hang together,have their regular territories, catch them on the cams consistently like clockwork almost. Soon they start some light sparring, but not crazy stuff, feeling their oats, working on the pecking order etc.No sense of urgency yet. But once breeding gets near, everything ill change
From what I have read they say the big, mature fella, has a smaller core area. He'll stake it out and that will be his place, and good for you if its your property he's on
. As the pecking order goes the others and the younger, they will and can cover miles, a much broader core area. You might catch them on your camera one day, 3 days later your buddy has it 5 miles away, then you have it again 3 days later. Others you may never see that season.
This could be whats happening where your at. The days of fun and sun are over, time to start work or is it play? I'd like to wonder how a deer views it
Where I hunt in FL, it pretty much happens the same way, it just fluctuates a tad and its not as structured. We don't have a HARD SET rut. Even though our area it may happen regularly in say..........January or July (whatever area you are in), its just not quite like the northern climates.
But the patterns of the bucks.........same way. RIght now, this time, they just rubbed the velvet off at my place. And through archery (unless they are killed) they come through like clockwork, I get the same deer on the camera (Doe and bucks). But then in January......i've seen bucks I never ever knew existed. Never had a pic before and they just file by the camera (Late January is pretty much peak breeding in my area)