It's official, and it's early by about a week. This morning near Smith Creek in the south end of Boxley Valley we observed the very first rutting bull of the 2012 season, complete with bugling, digging, running, and marking scent on this territory. I believe he is an 8x6. He has an irregular double fork on his right antler. I will call him Double Fork, until now I did not name him because he was just a satellite bull. He has always been early in the 3 years I have observed him, but not in the lead role.
There were perhaps 20 cars at least in Boxley Valley watching the show this AM. A very nice contingent of photographers, some from Oklahoma, and other parts of Arkansas witnessed the start of the rut.
More on this later, but I wanted to get the word out. Look for an updated map in a couple of hours.