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Smith: Deer rut about to peak in East Texas

By Chris Smith
Nov. 14, 2012 at 11 p.m.

There is a period of time when mature whitetail bucks will actively seek out females or doe deer for breeding purposes. This phase is known as "the rut."

During this time it is critical for the trophy-minded deer hunter to spend as much time as possible in the stand. Deer activity and movements will be at the highest at this time of year.

Bucks will make mistakes during this time in an all-out attempt to breed as many does as possible. This instinct to reproduce and drive to do so is about to peak in East Texas.

The Piney Woods region as the Texas Parks and Wildlife labels East Texas is separated in a northern and southern area. The northern area is roughly Interstate 30 south to Texas 21 from the Louisiana state line west to U.S. 259. The southern area stretches south to roughly Interstate 10 and is bordered on the east by Louisiana and U.S. 59 on the west.

Deer in the southern area have an earlier peak rut date then in the north. The key is to be in the woods during the peak periods of historical breeding activity. This simply puts the hunter in a position to at least see more deer activity.

Keep in mind not all deer do the same thing everywhere at the same time.

The TP&W study shows most breeding activity happened from Oct. 21 to Jan. 5. Peak breeding dates were Nov. 22 in the northern portion and Nov. 12 in the southern part of the Piney Woods.

Does showed a 96 percent pregnancy rate and averaged 1.7 fawns each. The majority (90 percent) of the fawns are born by June 29 in the northern area and by June 19 in the southern area.

The corresponding dates are an average, and places the odds in favor of intercepting moving bucks.

Nov. 12 (plus or minus) breeding accounts for 33 percent of all fawns born in the southern area, so the math proves hunting hours are critical during this time.

The northern area of East Texas is 10 days later, but again keep in mind not all deer will be receptive or chasing.

The best plan would be to hunt as often as possible the week before and after these peak dates. This makes the hunter more informed to spend vacation days or scheduling trips.

The TP&W web site has the entire state mapped out for rutting activities.

Of course the best time to go hunting is "when you can" but hopefully planning your hunt with rutting information will add to your odds of success.

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