the rut, if you believe the whole moon thing and i do, falls right around the hunters moon. hence the name. the second full moon after the autumnal equinox, i think thats how it goes. studies and books have been written on this. why some see more and sooner activity is due to the numbers of deer. the more deer the earlier and more the sign appears. thats why west tn sees the "rut" sooner than east tn. higher deer densities in the west. so in short i believe the rut is when the rut is suppose to be based on the moon, the pre-rut, scrape making, agressive rubbing, and chasing, is seen at different times due to deer densities. just makes sence to me so i choose to believe.