Overall activity status: Except for a few moderately warm days the middle of the week, cooler temperatures have settled in across the Great Plains region, helping to move the deer out of their summer patterns. A few smattering reports of deer going down during local openers, but no photo evidence as of yet. Casey Danielson, a pro staffer for Hips Archery Targets spent some time on stand Sunday afternoon for the Nebraska archery opener and reported the following via e-mail:
"It was actually pretty decent. Fair amount of does and fawns. I had a 140-inch 5x5 and a little spike in killing range. The skeeters were bad! All in all I was satisfied."
Fighting: While I have been hearing reports of hard antlers, much of the deer I and my contacts have seen on the hoof are just starting to shed their velvet, as this picture out of South Dakota last Friday illustrates. I wouldn't expect much in the way of play-fighting until all the deer in the region are in hard antlers.
Rub/Scrape making: Bucks are rubbing to scrape off the last of the velvet.
Daytime movement: The full moon has reduced some of the daytime movement, but deer have been spotted well after sunrise. Evening movement has been restricted, especially when temperatures reached into the high 80s Tuesday and Wednesday.
Estrous signs: Fawns still aren't getting far from mama.
X Factor: You've heard about the severe flooding in Colorado. Well now all that water is making its way into Nebraska via the South Platte River. Water levels along the river from the Colorado-Nebraska border to North Platte started rising Wednesday and that's expected to continue into this weekend. I talked to a few hunters in the area who were unsure how that was going to affect their deer hunting, but the best case scenario is it just restricts access for a week or two. It will be interesting to follow this story to see how it plays out the rest of the season.