For many years I concentrated most of my hunting in bow season, so was not tuned into the rut. The last several years I have tried to hunt more in November....to save some hunting stands from pressure so they will be prime for the rut....and I have killed more mature bucks since paying attention to the rut more. Looking back over the close to 30 years I've been deer hunting, there is definitely a variation from year to year. Some of that relates to food sources....if the acorns bust, and the deer are sticking to ag crops for food, then bucks will follow the does with the food when the rut comes. Although the chasing can take them back into the woods.
This year has been a weird year. Have seen barely any bucks and no mature bucks in the woods during bow season. I have seen some does but not many. Fortunate to take a couple. Yesterday for our ML opener I hunted a green field edge bordered by a 4 year old cut and planted pines. 6 bucks hit that green field but they weren't cruising they were gorging on clover, etc. Only 2-3 does came out (20+ acre field). There are some acorns in the woods but for whatever reason the fields are still a big draw and the run seems a week or two behind where it should be.
So I'm looking forward to next week and hoping things have heat up bit.
I hunted KY when I lived there for 6 years and I think the rut is better there than Virginia, the primary reason that the one buck limit saves a lot of bucks in KY, and with more bucks there is more competition for the does.