LAKE OCONEE — The next 2-3 weeks are the ideal time in our locality to be in the woods if you want a good opportunity to harvest a quality buck. The cool but not cold weather has likely slowed the deer mating process but it should be full steam ahead from now through Thanksgiving and into the last week of November.
Weather does play a small part in the rutting season but it will only delay it for a short period of time. In fact, the rut may be spaced out over several weeks. Collisions between buck deer and automobiles are a sure sign that the rutting season has started. Until recently most of those deer/auto collisions have occurred with does.
The bucks are pretty much nocturnal creatures until the rutting season begins and then they might be seen at any time of the day. The bucks forget about being cautious and forget about eating and sleeping. All they have on their minds is mating and that causes the bucks to temporarily lose their heads.
Prior to the rutting season, the bucks were best hunted at daybreak or at dusk and even then they were reluctant to show themselves. All that caution is left behind due to the urge to mate. That is the reason why drivers are more likely to see or literally come in contact with a buck during the rutting season than at any other time of the year.
Webster’s dictionary defines the rut as the periodic sexual excitement, or heat, of certain mammals (including deer), applying especially to males during a period of time that occurs usually once a year. The deer rut may last over a period of two months but the peak of the rut is a period of time when a large number of does come into estrous or become ready to breed and that may only last one-three weeks.