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Photo Galleries

  • Giant Buck Alert: Kansas 18-Point Gross Scores 194
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Real-Time Updates From Our Rut Reporters
  • November 1, 2013

    Mature Bucks Are in on the Chase Now

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall Activity Status: Last week we reported that things were fixing to bust wide open, and it looks like they have in certain areas. Movement, including rut activity, is full bore in most of Arkansas, Georgia, and South Carolina , and in some portions of other states. Many hunters are seeing good bucks and scoring. In many cases, even the older mature bucks are in rut mode. One indicator of the actual rut is when the older bucks start chasing because the mature ones typically don't waste their energy and expose themselves unless it's for real.

    Case in point: Last week a hunter in central Georgia got a trail camera photo of a particularly large buck. He went in to hunt the area last Sunday morning with his 12-year old daughter. They saw the giant buck, and the daughter took the shot. Grace Britt killed the 21-point, 170-class buck below with a .30-30 buck as it was hot on the heels of a doe. The non-typical had 17-inch tines.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 1, 2013

    Doe Deke Fools a Pennsylvania Buck

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    By Mike Bleech

    Trying a hunting tactic for the first time and having success with it is one of those experiences that can not fully be communicated to anyone who is not a hunter. The look on the face of Mike Stimmell, my deer scouting partner, when he popped out of his pickup in my driveway, gave me a pretty good clue about the tale he was about to tell me.

    Stimmell recently found what he figured was a good deal on an inflatable doe decoy. I saw it in its uninflated form soon after he bought it. It looked pretty good, considering how easily portable it is. But whether it would attract a buck was another matter.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • November 1, 2013

    Can't Find Your Deer? Call in the Dogs

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    By Brandon Ray

    Jeff Bonner and his two tracking dogs, Annie and Tebow, have saved a hunt for me more than once. Most recently, Tebow, the a 1 ½-year-old Bluetick shown here, helped recover an old Texas mule deer buck I hit too far back. We found the buck deceased the following morning. He went 500 yards with only a couple of drops of blood hitting the sandy earth along the way. If a shot is less-than-perfect or you just can't find the sign, backing out and calling an experienced tracking dog is wise advice.

    First, make sure your state allows the use of tracking dog. Some states require the dog to be on a lead, or that no more than two dogs are used. Some states do not allow it at all. Check the internet to see if your state has a dog tracking organization with a list of dogs for hire. Ask around at the local gun or archery shop.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 31, 2013

    A Horse Of A Buck From The Cowboy State

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    By Jeff Holmes

    As I last reported, colder temperatures are moving into most of the region, and signs of the pre-rut are becoming increasingly apparent, including scrapes reported in all six western whitetail reports and widespread reports of increased daytime activity.

    Reports from Wyoming's high country over the last two weeks have indicated pre-rutting behaviors are most advanced in the Cowboy State, and this week's report confirms it. This horse of a buck fell to Mike Rinehart of Wind River Whitetails after he observed the buck ravage a sapling from afar before walking into range of Rinehart's stand. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 30, 2013

    Coming Colder Temps Should Get Bucks Up and About

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    By Brandon Ray

    Overall Activity Status: All of my contacts are whining about little activity this month. Most blame it on warm temperatures (which has deer moving in dark; see the photo here of an Oklahoma buck a friend sent recently) or abundant native browse (because of late summer rains), meaning not as many deer are going to corn feeders by their bow stands. I'm optimistic that the first week of November will be better, especially since colder temperatures are expected and there is no full moon to complain about. With freezing temperatures coming soon, native browse will die back and you can bet that deer will get interested in free corn again.

    Fighting: I've seen several mix-ups between younger bucks, sparring and a little pushing and shoving. When the calendar rolls over to November, expect the older bucks to start mixing it up as well. This pre-rut time frame is a good time to employ calling, such as rattling and grunting. Both calls stay in my blind or stand within easy reach at all times.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 30, 2013

    Bucks Are Becoming More Active During Daylight Hours

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    By Mike Bleech

    Overall Activity Status: Deer exhibited a small but distinct change in behavior over the past few days. On one particular trail camera, two bucks, including the heavy 8-point shown here (my guess is that it is a 2-1/2 year-old), showed during daylight hours. Does also have been more active during daylight hours. This probably has not been related to a full moon.

    Robert Rogan has finally gotten photos of a big buck in Connecticut. It made an appearance at 3:30 a.m.

    Northeastsportsman commented from northern Vermont after my previous rut report that he has seen an increase in deer movement.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 30, 2013

    Seeking and Chasing Activity on the Rise

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    By Will Brantley

    Overall Activity Status: All reports say deer, bucks included, were moving like gangbusters last week. And why wouldn't they? It was cold and calm most days. My trail cameras showed significant activity, particularly in the mornings, all week long.

    This week has been a different story. It's been warm and windy. A huge front is forecast to move through on Halloween, and I'm banking on pretty good movement once the weather settles in its wake.

    Fighting: I referenced my buddy Sully rattling in that fine buck in this week's previous post. Bucks are fighting right now, and they're serious about it.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 30, 2013

    In Some Southern States, The Rut is Busting Out

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    By Eric Bruce

    It's been a challenge lately to keep up with all the big bucks being shot and the stories of hunters seeing bucks chasing does in Georgia, Arkansas, and South Carolina. We often get early reports of young bucks pursuing does and the big mature bucks waiting on the real thing, but we are already hearing about the older bucks on the move. There are also pockets of action in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

    Last Saturday brought the coldest weather of the year so far, with morning temperatures in the mid-30s that spurred deer movement overall. At one hunting club in Morgan County, Georgia, a hunter reported seeing 15 bucks during the morning hunt. He was not sure of the total, which could have been as high as 19, because he kept seeing some of them over and over. At that same property, Lauren Deaton said she saw two mature eight-pointers twice chasing the same doe but she was unable to get the crosshairs on the fast-moving bucks.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 30, 2013

    More Trophy Bucks to Come as Colder Temperature Sparks Rut

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    By Jeff Holmes


    "I'd like to apologize to Steve Miller for showing the wrong buck and hunter when I posted this report yesterday. Here's Steve and his mature buck after a clean kill on the last day of Montana's archery season."

    Pennsylvania’s Steve Miller was mostly seeking elk from his stand last week. He was among the cottonwoods in one of Montana Whitetails leases northeast of Bozema. But as it happens out West — especially on prime, private ground — Miller was rewarded with a big-game bonus, pictured here. 

    “It was Sunday October 20th, the last day of the regular archery season here in Montana. With limited time to hunt, I was hoping to make the most of my time spent in the field. After talking with the local rancher, he said there were some feeding in his fields on a regular basis. Having a big game combination license (Deer/elk) I decided it was a great opportunity to go after both in this particular area within the river bottom. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 29, 2013

    Break-Out Buck Activity Is Only Days Away

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    By Scott Bestul

    We've all heard bucks grunt, and some of those grunts are pretty loud. But very few hunters have heard the kind of grunting that my hunting buddy Billy Jerowski heard yesterday afternoon. As he tells it, several mature does and their fawns had moved past his stand to feed in a nearby alfalfa field. Not long after, three young bucks appeared, working the same trails. "And then a mature buck—probably a 140-class 9-point—showed up," says Jerowski. "He was back in the brush so I couldn't see him well, but he was making plenty of racket, like he wanted the other bucks to know he was there."

    And then the grunting started. Not just the abbreviated "urp" most of us are accustomed to hearing. "This was a loud, sustained grunt that lasted for several seconds, and as soon as one ended, he'd go right into another one," Jerowski says. "Every once in awhile he'd throw in a 'roar' like you hear guys talking about sometimes. But mostly it was just repeated grunting. After a few grunts like this I glanced at my watch, because I wanted to get an idea of how long he was doing it. A full twenty minutes later it was still going on. The younger bucks were really nervous, and when I looked down at the field, all the does had left. They were obviously freaked out."

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 28, 2013

    Pre-Rut Bow-Kill from the Mid-South

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    By Will Brantley

    John Sullivan works at Hinton Archery in Murray, Kentucky. If that shop sounds familiar, it's because it has been the "unoffical" pro-shop of several Field and Stream bowhunting projects in the past two years. Owner Danny Hinton (The Barrel-Chested Irishman) was one of the panel testers for Scott Bestul's Flagship Shootout bow test this past spring.

    Sullivan (Sully for short) had been watching the weather carefully last week. A big cold front was moving through Kentucky on the heels of a full moon, and Sully says morning sits under those conditions are his absolute favorite.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • Peak Rut is Close, But Hunting Core Areas Still Pays

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    By Scott Bestul

    Virtually all of the recent reports tell of bucks starting to cover more ground, and it won’t be long before these studs will be fully focused on finding mates. But that doesn’t mean you should stop hunting a buck’s pre-rut haunts. Many of the hottest scrapes, for example, will eventually be abandoned as the peak rut ramps up, but it’s important that you don’t abandon them too soon. As Northeast reporter Mike Bleech points out, leaf-covered scrapes can appear to have gone stale, but bucks are often still using them regularly.
      [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 25, 2013

    New Rubs and Scrapes Are Popping Up Everywhere

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    By Scott Bestul

    Overall Activity: Buck sign is increasing in a big way across much of the region, but reports of actual deer sightings are still hit and miss. Many hunters are reporting lots of nighttime trail-cam pics, which jibes with the mixed-bag field notes I'm receiving; one Minnesota hunter reported seeing five bucks in one evening, including two mature animals, while just across the river in fabled Buffalo County, Wisconsin, contacts report only so-so action.

    Fighting: I haven't received any recent reports of fighting. But I had a great encounter with a 3-1/2-year old 9-point this week that came to a light rattling sequence, with some grunting to coax him to within 15 yards. Social dynamics are always being worked out among bucks, but with the rut at our doorstep, that type of activity will intensify in the days ahead.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 25, 2013

    It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like The Rut

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    By Eric Bruce

    Overall Activity Status: Numerous accounts point to the rut fixing to bust wide open in Arkansas, South Carolina, and Georgia. Hunters are seeing excellent movement all over, including bucks chasing does. It appears that the transition from pre-rut to rut has already happened in these states, and deer activity is in high gear. One hunter in South Carolina reported "a major positive turn in buck activity since Sunday. Bucks are being seen chasing." If you hunt in one of these states, it's time to be in the woods as the action is heating up right along with the rapid cooling down of the weather.

    Fighting: With the rut kicking in in Georgia, South Carolina, and Arkansas, there is going to be some fighting over the does that are being chased. A hunter in South Carolina observed five different bucks from his stand and two of them got in a fight. From now through the new week or so, most of the buck fighting will occur in these states. Take along some rattling antlers to lure one in.

    [ Read Full Post ]

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