Jim, the answer may differ based on the different areas. In some northern areas, deer and elk tend to rut earlier by a few weeks than they do in southern regions. Here in Colorado, the rut will usually get hot and heavy around the 2nd or 3rd week of September.
Hiker is dead on for peak rut in Colorado. It varies by latitude, like whitetail. I'm not for sure, but I believe Montana and Canada are a few weeks earlier (at most) than Colorado and New Mexico or Arizona can be a few weeks later.
Any forum members want to comment on their region?
I could see the small band of mule deer picking their way towards me through the sagebrush 800 plus yards away. With my 10 power binoculars I spotted a legal buck bringing up the tail. I dropped down and crouched behind a large chunk of sage just waiting for them to pass within range. Unfortunately, they stopped and began milling around before finally settling down, with a few of them laying down right out in the open. They were not going to come to me; if I wanted any closer, I'd...