Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

In prime condition

West Virginia’s rutting season for white-tailed deer gets more than its share of attention, and justifiably so.

Hunters kill a lot of big bucks during the rut. Deer mating activity usually peaks in mid-November, just before the firearm season begins, so bowhunters tend to reap most of the bounty.

That might change a bit this year. With the state’s forest floor liberally sprinkled with acorns, deer have plenty to eat this fall. They came into the rut in prime physical condition. Curtis Taylor, the Division of Natural Resources’ wildlife chief, says well-fed deer tend to spend more time breeding than poorly fed ones.

“Last year, when deer had very little to eat, the rut didn’t last very long,” he explained. “I would expect this year’s rut to last well into the firearm season.”

That’s certainly good news for whitetail hunters. The firearm season opens Nov. 22.