Overall Activity Status: Deer activity is better than it has been through most of this fall. It is not, however, universal throughout the region, nor is it a great deal of activity.
Fighting: Some hunters are still reporting signs of serious fighting. Robert Rogan, in Connecticut, noticed that a 10-point buck he has been chasing was missing 3 inches from its G3 tine. This seems to be awfully late for so much visible fighting. Signs of fighting seldom are found in great numbers.
Rub & Scrape Making: Finally, a report of rutting activity in Maine. From northern Maine at Matagamon Wilderness Camps, owner and guide Joe Christianson said that bucks have been scraping for two weeks. I hunted with Christianson a couple seasons ago and took a bear that qualified for the Maine Antlers & Skulls Record Book. While there I saw more game than I usually see in the north. At least some of this I attribute to the acorn crop. Oak trees generally are so not common in the North Woods as they are along the East Branch of the Penobscot River.
Chasing: According to Christianson, bucks have been with the does. Does have just started coming into heat within the past two weeks, and now it is in full force, he reported. This probably has entered into a good deer kill at his lodge this fall. This is starting considerably later than in most other parts of the Northeast Region.
Estrous Signs: See above.
Daytime Movement: In southwest Connecticut, Robert Rogan had a close call at 2:00 p.m. with a 9-point buck on Thanksgiving Day, but swirling wind ended it when the buck was still 60 yards away.
Rogan had been getting daytime photos with his trail camera all that week. The best was on November 24, when six bucks came by his stand between 6:30 a.m. and 12:40 p.m.
Mike Toth, Field & Stream’s executive editor who resides in central New Jersey, has been watching bucks moving for a couple of weeks. One, a 4-point, seems to have fallen in love with Toth’s backyard grill. Like many other hunters, Toth commented that he has seen no evidence of a strong, concentrated rut.
X Factor: Yesterday I bought a fresh bottle of doe in heat lure, and it will figure into a large part of my hunting strategy for a few days.