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First Report of Estrous Does

Things are changing now at a more rapid pace. Through last week bucks had been seen fighting and sparring, but no reports of does in estrus came in. We knew it could happen any time. Now it has.

Ray Weasner, owner of Weasner's Archery Shop in Bloomville, Ohio, has heard reports of bucks chasing does. "I'm finding lots of scrapes," he added. "Bucks are hitting them at night." Similar reports from other areas are sure to be heard elsewhere soon. He also said that local hunters are starting to kill some good bucks. Weasner had been out bowhunting six mornings, but did not see his first deer until the morning of October 23, all does.

"For some reason the does are moving right now," Weasner said.

I expect the temperature is at least part of that reason. In my home area of northwest Pennsylvania, deer activity increased considerably when cooler temperatures arrived. Most of it has been does, and most either before noon or after 3:00 p.m. according to my trail cameras.

While on my most recent scouting hikes this week, the increase in buck rubs that began last week is continuing. What's missing are rub lines. I find scattered rubs, maybe a couple in close proximity, but no longer rub lines.

Robert Rogan said that in his Connecticut hunting area he has been seeing a young 8-point, 6-point, forkhorn and spike. The 8-point is shown above. But he is still waiting for the big boys to show up. He anticipates, based on last year's activity, that the big bucks will appear during the coming two weeks.

Considering all that has happened leading to this point, it is time to think about rut hunting tactics seriously. A sudden increase in buck activity, the sight of two, or three, bucks following the same doe, the appearance of the dominant bucks may happen at any moment. Be ready for it.

As always at this time, expect to see the big bucks, any bucks, close to the does. Be sure to carry your favorite grunt tube. If you see a deer off to the side of does, at the edge of your range of vision where you could not tell whether it wears antlers, give it a couple of grunts. If it is a buck, likely it will come toward you at a quick walking gate, stopping where it thinks a grunting buck should be.

Comments (4)

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from steve182 wrote 25 weeks 1 day ago

This past week I saw movement of does and small bucks morning, noon and night on the cams. Unfortunately the larger bucks were only seen at night. Missed out on the best days this week. Cool air and frost should've had the bucks on their feet.

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from themadflyfisher wrote 25 weeks 1 day ago

In your last post I reported that I saw a nice big 6 point running a doe hard. I live in the northern tip of Clearfield Co. PA. I've been out muzzleloading all week and I have seen a huge increase in rubs and scrapes especially scrapes. I have no rub lines like you had stated but scrapes are everywhere. Yesterday in the first hard snow of the year I snuck up to about 20 yards from a spike who was going crazy on a pipeline making a scrape and thrashing his little antlers in the tree limbs. I found 5 new scrapes yesterday that weren't there (at least not visible) the day before. My camera still is only showing the bigger bucks at like 11pm-3am so I'm hoping that changes soon.

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from Northeastsportsman wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

There has been a huge increase in deer movement here in Northern VT. My father and I checked our trail cams yesterday and got a picture of a large four point chasing a doe. Before the buck came through a doe urinated in the middle of the plot. When the buck came through he sniffed were the doe urinated and lip curled. A definite sign the rut is here. We hunt in the "big woods" where there is no agriculture except our food plots. The deer are feeding in our plots everyday between 3pm-6:30pm and 7am-10am. Have also seen a lot more fresh scrapes and rubs. Hunted last night which was the last day of the Vermont bow season and my father shot a doe at 4pm. Cooler temps are bringing the deer out early.

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from brett corliss wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

On Saturday morning in Eastern Ma, I watched two young bucks fighting. As one approached the other one turned a little side ways and approached the other. They pushed each other around for 3 or 4 minutes and one went back the way it came from. A lot of scrape activity. Young bucks are cruising early morning but the big bucks are still checking scrapes just after dark and just before dawn.

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from steve182 wrote 25 weeks 1 day ago

This past week I saw movement of does and small bucks morning, noon and night on the cams. Unfortunately the larger bucks were only seen at night. Missed out on the best days this week. Cool air and frost should've had the bucks on their feet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from themadflyfisher wrote 25 weeks 1 day ago

In your last post I reported that I saw a nice big 6 point running a doe hard. I live in the northern tip of Clearfield Co. PA. I've been out muzzleloading all week and I have seen a huge increase in rubs and scrapes especially scrapes. I have no rub lines like you had stated but scrapes are everywhere. Yesterday in the first hard snow of the year I snuck up to about 20 yards from a spike who was going crazy on a pipeline making a scrape and thrashing his little antlers in the tree limbs. I found 5 new scrapes yesterday that weren't there (at least not visible) the day before. My camera still is only showing the bigger bucks at like 11pm-3am so I'm hoping that changes soon.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Northeastsportsman wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

There has been a huge increase in deer movement here in Northern VT. My father and I checked our trail cams yesterday and got a picture of a large four point chasing a doe. Before the buck came through a doe urinated in the middle of the plot. When the buck came through he sniffed were the doe urinated and lip curled. A definite sign the rut is here. We hunt in the "big woods" where there is no agriculture except our food plots. The deer are feeding in our plots everyday between 3pm-6:30pm and 7am-10am. Have also seen a lot more fresh scrapes and rubs. Hunted last night which was the last day of the Vermont bow season and my father shot a doe at 4pm. Cooler temps are bringing the deer out early.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from brett corliss wrote 24 weeks 5 days ago

On Saturday morning in Eastern Ma, I watched two young bucks fighting. As one approached the other one turned a little side ways and approached the other. They pushed each other around for 3 or 4 minutes and one went back the way it came from. A lot of scrape activity. Young bucks are cruising early morning but the big bucks are still checking scrapes just after dark and just before dawn.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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