Ever changing phases of the whitetail rut combined with moves and countermoves between hunter and quarry.
Story and Photography by Bob Zaiglin
Taking a wide, symmetrical, tall-tined buck in the thorn scrub of South Texas is on every serious deer hunter’s checklist of things to accomplish. Each fall this lofty goal is reflected in the surge of hunters in small towns across the vast South Texas landscape. Small communities like Hebbronville, Benavides, and Cotulla, to name a few, actually experience a taste of big city rush hour traffic as huge four-wheel drive rigs arrive like a plague of locusts inundating their communities as sportsmen acquire supplies for their sojourn into the brasada.
At no time is this activity more evident than mid-December. With the Christmas season representing quality time with family and friends in the outdoor environment, I can’t think of a better time to pursue those brush country whitetails, and the fact that the peak rut occurs around mid-December, the brush country is the only place to be for the serious deer hunter.
The breeding season for deer begins in November and continues through January, with some breeding activity extending into February. However, the peak activity period within this time frame, referred to as the rut, varies by region. In the Hill Country, for example, the peak rut occurs in mid to late November. But in South Texas, the time to be in one’s favorite stand is mid to late December.