Though the breeding part of the rut is still a while off, we are into a fun part of it: When big bucks are on the move. Hunting prospects will improve considerably once breeding gets underway, but since we have been seeing big bucks, the enthusiasm level has climbed.
During our most recent drive along our Allegheny National Forest loop, Thursday, Oct. 3, we did not see any huge bucks, but we saw nice bucks that I would gladly tag.
One of my trail cameras in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, which is close to the Ohio border, caught two bucks visiting the big scrape that I am in the second year of watching. One buck came in, urinated in the scrape, dug at the scrape with its front hooves, rubbed its preorbital glands on an overhanging limb, then dug at the scape with its hind hooves. Now I never need wonder what actually goes on at a scrape.
Rob Rogan reports that a friend who lives on Long Island, Suffolk County, has been seeing some big bucks in a thick bedding area, including one with 13 or 14 points. Closer to home in Connecticut, Rogan has seen a nice 10-point buck that is a shooter, along with smaller bucks.
Broken Arrow Archery Shop, in central Ohio, reports that bucks are on the move. A few have already been taken by hunters. But they have not gotten word about any of the huge bucks Ohio is known for.
From Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop, which is located toward the southern end of New York’s Adirondacks, John Havlick said that he knows of one very nice 11-point buck being taken in the young archery season, and a decent 8-point. These were entered in a local contest. But the past few days have been unseasonably warm, which has limited deer movement.
Seasonable temperatures play a huge role in determining how much deer will move. A 70-degree early October day in the northern Adirondacks is unseasonably warm. That same temperature on that same date would be quite seasonable in southern Ohio or Maryland. So if your time is limited, plan a few days ahead according to weather reports now, while feeding is the main driver of deer movement. Try to plan days afield on days with seasonable, or unseasonably cool temperatures.
Temperatures may not mean as much once does start coming into heat, but it still might influence deer movement to some degree.
Pennsylvania archery season opened Saturday, October 5, but I avoided the weekend and will start my bowhunting season today, when fewer hunters will be in the woods. Thanks to my trail cameras, I have a few good trees picked out for my climbing stand.
A note to themadflyfisher, who commented that had been seeing only one deer, a buck, on acertain trail camera every other day: You are seeing a common pattern. Whereas some trails may be used by numerous deer, both does and bucks, there are some trails that appear to be “owned” by a certain deer. Then there are sections of trails where deer are seen during daylight hours, and sections where they are seen almost exclusively at night. Every trail camera has the potential to display good lessons in deer behavior.