The best chance to score on a big whitetail buck is during the rut (breeding period) and thanks to a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) study entitled, “The Rut in Whitetail Deer”, hunters can plan their trips around the peak activity.
Here are results of the TPWD study broken down by region.
Gulf Prairies and Marshes: The earliest whitetail breeding in the state occurred in this ecological region. Breeding occurred in the period August 24 to November 25. There were two study areas: the northern study area had a peak date of September 30, while the southern area was a month later with an October 31 peak breeding date.
Post Oak Savannah: The conception dates for does in this region ranged from September 30 to January 16 during the study period. Two study areas were used. The peak breeding dates for the central and southern portions were almost identical. The peak dates were November 10 and 11, respectively.
Pinewoods: Most breeding activity happened from October 21 to January 5. Peak breeding dates were November 22 in the northern portion and November 12 in the southern part of the Pinewoods.
Rolling Plains: Most does were bred from October 8 to December 30 in the three years studied. Study areas showed a peak date of December 3 in the north and November 20 in the south.
Edwards Plateau: Conception dates for this region ranged from as early as October 9 to a late date of January 30. The Edwards Plateau, Texas’ highest deer production region, was divided into three areas for the study. The eastern part had a peak breeding date of November 7. Peak breeding for the central portion was November 24, and the western area had a peak date of December 5.
Cross Timbers: Representing the north-central part of the state, conception dates in the Cross Timbers and Prairies were as early as October 13 and extended to December 17. In the northern portion of the region, the average breeding date was November 15. The average breeding date in the southern part was November 17.
Trans-Pecos: Conception dates in the Trans-Pecos ranged from as early as November 4 to as late as January 4 during the 3-year study. The peak date of the breeding season was December 8.
South Texas Plains: South Texas had the latest rut in the state. Breeding dates ranged from November 9 to February 1 during the three years. In the eastern part of the area, the peak breeding date was December 16, while in the west it was December 24.
Whitetails are fascinating creatures and this information direct from TPWD reveals the rut is not only a productive time to hunt but also varies dramatically from region to region.