As I mentioned a few weeks back, bucks that had gone missing in August started reappearing in early September, a trend that's continued into October. This week, I've talked to a few different hunters and they've related new bucks are still showing up on trail cams, most likely spurred into movement by the volatile combination of weather, harvest and the hardening of antlers and its accompanying testosterone dump.
On Monday, I briefly spoke to Casey Danielson, a Hips Archery Targets pro staffer who hunts in extreme northwest Nebraska near the Pine Ridge. Danielson originally called to pass along information about some big bull elk that had been falling in his area recently, but he also mentioned he'd finally found the buck he planned on matching wits with this season. As of the archery opener, Danielson hadn't had much on camera to get excited about, but that's all changed now that a good-sized palmated buck has showed up on his hunting property. "He's got moose antlers," was all Danielson would say when I pressed him for more info, so hopefully we'll get to see a photo when the Nebraska hunter puts it all together.
In South Dakota, Spencer Neuharth also had a new buck show up on trail camera, though like Danielson, he's keeping this one close to the vest until he gets the chance to hunt him. Neuharth did pass along this photo of two smaller bucks tickling antlers, something we can expect to see more of in the coming weeks.
My contacts in Kansas have been pretty quiet. Several of them are still hanging stands and doing some last-minute scouting before things heat up in the coming weeks, but all have plans to be in the woods as much as possible this month.
So don't fret if that buck of your dreams is MIA. As any deer hunter knows, all it takes is one moment to go from zero to hero when a previously unseen bucks walks by your stand. The most important thing is to be there waiting when he does.