Overall activity: Deer movement has been fairly unpredictable in the region this week, thanks to unsettled weather which has varied between rain, warmth, and wind, and an abundance of food. Nevertheless, some reports of good whitetail activity and shot opportunities have been reported.
Fighting: Southeastern Minnesota farmer and whitetail fanatic Ross Greden sent me three photos of a pair of decent bucks fighting on a field edge. From the pics, this looked like far more than a sparring match, though the photos were fairly distant and a little blurry.
Rub making: On a scouting walk yesterday afternoon, I noticed fresh rubs that had been made within the last five days. Most were located on food source edges, like alfalfa and clover fields.
Scrape making: Like rubs, scrapes are starting to pick up, though bucks aren’t making them big or working them hard. I have set up several mock scrapes in my hunting areas, and bucks—like the one in the photo above—are swinging through, checking them out, and working them. Scrape activity is going to pick up in a big way in the next 7-10 days.
Chasing: Very little to report, though a young Wisconsin hunter shot a huge, 6-year-old buck during the just-concluded youth season that was supposedly chasing does like it was the first week of November.
Daytime movement: Again, somewhat unpredictable, thanks to the weather. Also, an abundant acorn crop in some areas has resulted in deer shifting feeding activity into the timber, where they’re less visible to hunters.
Estrous signs: None to report.
X-Factor: The corn harvest has begun in some areas. My friend Jeff Blakeman hunted in northern Missouri last weekend, and noted that combines were starting to hit the corn and bean fields pretty hard. My neighbors here in Minnesota have begun combining corn as well, though most farmers are going to let crops stand (and dry) for as long as the weather will allow. Any place where the harvest has begun, expect deer movement to increase as whitetails take advantage of the easily-accessible food source.