So the deer-hunting season is open, and you’re spending time in the woods. But what you’re really waiting on is the rut, when bucks throw caution to the winds and leave their concealed haunts in search of love.

But when does that happen in your area? Well, the Louisiana Sportsman annual rut report is a good way to narrow down the best times — and now the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is nailing it down even more with a new map showing estimated breeding periods across the state.

While there is always some variation, using this map in conjunction with the Sportsman’s rut report is a great way to ensure you’re on the stand when bucks give up their nocturnal ways.

LDWF biologists built the map based on all available data collected for decades, the agency reported. The map was developed using GIS software and calculations from fetal measurements taken across the state, a news release stated.

“Deer breeding periods are primarily determined by the genetics of the does, but many other factors can affect breeding timing,” the LDWF news release stated. “Deer health, density, sex ratios and habitat conditions are other important variables affecting deer breeding periods.”   While these dates on the map provide the best estimates of the average two-week peak breeding periods over time, the agency pointed out deer don’t limit themselves to those periods.

“The entire breeding range will usually be longer than what is shown on the map,” the agency said. “In many locations, data was collected over multiple years, increasing the sample sizes and capturing any variation that might occur over a longer time period.  Click here to see a full-resolution PDF of the map.   “This map will continue to change slightly as more samples are added and area data gaps are filled.”