One of my very favorite movies is a Clint Eastwood saga titled “The Outlaw Josey Wales”. (From 1976!) The line “pert as a ruttn buck!” is a brave lie told to Josey by his young side kick who has been mortally wounded by them “no good yankee red legs”. A term they used to describe the Kansas militia men who had a red stripe down their pants legs and were know for their hatred of the rebels, especially a Missouri rebel like Josey and the young man who died moments after making this memorable movie line.
I often think of that sentence when I am getting ready for a trip to the deer woods. It is one that enlivens and gives me a little added excitement when I consider how special it is to watch a rutting buck as he chases a doe around trying his best to persuade her he is the “man for the job”. He has an actual expression of pleasure on his face and his actions are foolish, with often total disregard for safety or common “deer sense”.
The doe, depending on her mood and stage of pre-rut or rut she is in, can exhibit anything from no reaction to the buck, to being kicking, pawing fighting mad or on the other end of the scale, acting coy, shy, or downright ready for action! Just being out in the woods to witness the wonders of the deer rutting season and how it changes, ebbs and flows across the state from north to south and even somewhat east to west, makes for exciting times in the Great Alabama Outdoors!
I hunt deer mainly on family lands in West Alabama across a couple of counties. The rut starts routinely in the north end of our hunting area during Christmas week and peaks the week of the new year with some activity through out January. Where I hunt on the south end of property in Greene county, the rut kicks in the last week of December and runs strong in January but, there is a shut down week where the deer seem to disappear before the activity resumes. Moon phase and temps also affect the rut activity since deer are more active in colder weather days with dark nights and less activity is noted on the full moon cycles, especially if it coincides with warmer weather.
A buddy I hunt with in Macon county tells me the best rut there is the last week of January and he has scouted deer in February and March who are still rutting wide open! Yet, there are areas in Barbour and Henry where the rut happens like north Alabama in December and January. There are a number of hunting services that offer rut maps in Alabama, so google one for your area and see how accurate it is compared to your hunting observations!
Rut season is time to get in the woods season and enjoy the excitement of seeing that “pert buck” on the prowl for a doe!