MOORE OUTDOORS: So, Chester, what is a bull redfish ‘run’?

Published 12:07 am Sunday, August 20, 2017

“Chester, when are the trout ‘running’?”

“Are we going to have a second rut this year?”

“Will the bull reds ‘run’ at McFaddin Beach this fall?”

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These questions and similar ones are asked of me frequently via email, in person and on my radio program “Moore Outdoors”. I have addressed them here before but since it is time for the “bull red run” I thought it is perfect time to revisit.

And after talking with many people about these subjects it seems there is some confusion about what constitutes a “run” and on the scheduling of ruts. Some of this has to do with tradition and some faulty information promoted on the Internet.

Let’s take a look at these issues starting with a “run”.

People often use the term run in fishing to note that the fish are biting. When someone says the “bass are running” they mean they are biting or there has been a solid period of fishing action.

“Run” however actually denotes a period of migration in relation to a spawn. Salmon “run” upstream to spawn and then die. White bass annually move into certain areas of the river to spawn. The bull redfish right now have moved onto the beachfront to spawn and the fall flounder “run” is an event tied to their migration in the Gulf.

These migrations tied to breeding periods congregate many fish in an area and since there is intense activity the fish in question tend to feed aggressively.

So when someone tells you the speckled trout are “running” on Sabine Lake there really is no run. They do not make a mass migration to mate. They simply mean they are biting and they certainly will not be as concentrated as the white bass that really do “run” north of Toledo Bend.

The rut in whitetail deer is another issue altogether.

There is a lot of talk about second and even third ruts but what does it mean?

To answer questions about missing the rut, etc. The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) had some practical data that can help hunters.

According to TPWD a doe may be attractive to bucks for about five days, but may be willing to breed for a period of only 24 hours. If the doe is not bred during her first cycle, she will generally come into heat again about28 days later.”

“In areas where there are few bucks, a doe may not encounter a buck when she is first receptive and may not be bred until one of her later cycles. A hunter, landowner or biologist who sees the late breeding activity may be convinced that there was a late rut. On the other hand, those who see does that bucks attend to in the early part of the season believe there was an early rut. This helps explain the wide variety of opinions on the timing of the rut during a particular year.”

In other words does will keep going into estrus every 28 days until they are bred and on top of that buck/doe ratio can be a factor.

If there are, say, eight does to one buck, chances are those bucks will not breed all of the does in the area and the chances of another estrus cycle for does comes into play. There are however peak rut times.

My constant point of reference is “The Rut in Whitetail Deer” put out by TPWD.

TPWD biologists found 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 Pineywoods. 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.”

For the Edwards Plateau (Hill Country), conception dates 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 according to TPWD.

“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.”

I hope this helps you understand these phenomena a little better. The great outdoors is a fascinating place as there are so many factors that go into making something like a “run” happen.

To contact Chester Moore, email him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. or online at

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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