Rut Reporter Scott Bestul is a Field & Stream’s Whitetails columnist and writes for the website’s Whitetail365 blog. The Minnesotan has taken 13 Pope & Young-class whitetails and has hunted, guided for, and studied deer in the north-central region all his life. States covered: IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, WI.
A Good News/Bad News Week:
In another classic example of hunters wanting the rut to arrive more than the deer, I just talked to Ted Marum, owner of Tri-State Outfitting, and his clients in north Missouri and southern Iowa were truly disappointed in the buck movement and rutting activity the last few days. “One of my hunters watched a huge-bodied buck—one I know well from trail cameras and sightings—walk into a field full of does yesterday,” Ted says. “The buck never even lifted his head to look at a doe! He just fed for 15-20 minutes and walked away.” Marum says that overall buck sightings are down and rubbing and scraping are occurring mostly at night.
Meanwhile, Marum told me that his mother Joanie—an avid bowhunter from Wisconsin—had enjoyed excellent action over the last few days. “She’s had multiple buck sightings and seen some truly big bucks visiting water sources, clearly tired from chasing does or at least covering ground to find them,” Marum notes.
In neighboring Minnesota, bowhunter Chris Dornack shot the beautiful, tall-tined buck in this photo a few days back. “It was only my third time in the stand this fall,” says Dornack, the father of three young children. “I was scouting with a friend and found an active scrape line situated close to some thick cover, so I put up a stand nearby. The first time I sat that spot the buck came through at 30 yards and I thought I should pass him. Then he circled into the thick cover and I decided maybe he was big enough after all! So I used mouth grunts to call him in. He came closer that time, and gave me a 20-yard shot. I watched him pile up only 30 yards away.”