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Photo Galleries

  • Giant Buck Alert: Kansas 18-Point Gross Scores 194
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  • Biggest Pure Kentucky 8-Pointer Ever Measured
  • New World Record 8-Point Whitetail
  • A Bizarre 23-Point Maryland Buck
Real-Time Updates From Our Rut Reporters
  • October 25, 2013

    First Report of Estrous Does

    4

    By Mike Bleech

    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.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 25, 2013

    A Mid-South 13-Pointer

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    By Will Brantley

    My previous post referenced the terribly slow deer activity of last weekend. I saw but one deer from the stand over the course of two hard days of hunting Kentucky's early muzzleloader season, but I suppose, as the saying goes, it was the deer that counted.

    I was in a box blind overlooking a 5-acre field on our family farm. Two sections of the field are planted in food plot: clover on one side of the box blind, and a blend of clover, chicory, and turnips on the other side. The field is surrounded by a mix of cover, including some new-growth thicket, hardwood timber, and clear cut. It's where I've grown up deer hunting, and it'd be tough for me to hand-pick a better-looking spot.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 25, 2013

    Where East And West Meet, A Trophy Muley

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    By Brandon Ray

    Travel west of classic whitetail range and you'll find crossover country, where both whitetails and mule deer share similar habitat. Cottonwood-lined creeks harbor whitetails while sage flats and rough canyons are home to mule deer. Both species often mingle in crop fields. Such is the case in the Texas Panhandle where I live.

    October 22 was my fifth sit of the season at the ground blind under the old mesquite tree on the sagging fence. My target was a specific, old 10-point mule deer, a buck I have much history with. A single shed from the 2011 season and his matched set from 2012 sit in my office. His 2013 rack was his best-ever. I have hundreds of trail camera pictures of him, mostly at night, including two pics shown in previous posts on this blog.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 25, 2013

    On The Verge Of Peak Breeding Season

    1

    By David Draper

    Overall activity status: I spent Monday afternoon scouting a few local cornfields here in western Nebraska and saw several deer out feeding well before sundown. That confirms the pattern that all my contacts across the region are seeing as well, though rut-related activity is still on the down low. A few signs are starting to pop up, including a few chasing and cruising bucks, that say we're on the verge of peak breeding season in the next week to 10 days.

    Fighting: Somewhat surprisingly, few of my contacts have seen any bucks fighting lately and no broken tines are showing up on camera. That lack of battles could be a result of the reduced deer density this year, though up in South Dakota Spencer Neuharth did say bucks there are "getting more aggressive and it's become more than just tickling of antlers."

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 24, 2013

    Bucks Begin Serious Sign-Making

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    By Scott Bestul

    The buck in the photo is a nice 10-point my trail cam snapped on a mock scrape located on public land. Originally, I'd found several natural scrapes along this field edge; then I created the mock nearby where the photo opportunity was better. I set the camera, and got this buck the first night, then two others in the next two evenings. I'll leave the camera out for at least a week at this spot, just as a survey tool to census the number and of bucks in the area.

    But as nice as this buck is, the real excitement came when I did a brief scouting loop through the nearby hardwood timber. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 24, 2013

    Breaking Mild Weather Should Get Bucks Moving Early Next Week

    0

    By Jeff Holmes

    Overall activity status: "Check this old guy out," reports Wind River Whitetails' Mike Rinehart. "I bet this deer is 7 ½ years old, and look at the junk on his head. His left antler is palmated, and check out the mega neck he has.  This deer will push 250 on the hoof."

    Bucks are already beginning to scrape on Rinehart's mile-high ranch in Western Wyoming's eastern front, and the weird-racked buck above as well as the mature buck below just started showing up on his game cameras for the first time.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 23, 2013

    Bucks are Transitioning from Pre-Rut to Rut

    0

    By Eric Bruce

    Hunters are hitting the woods in big numbers now and many are seeing good activity. Firearms seasons have begun in several areas, so more good bucks are being seen and tagged. Most notable are the increased observations of bucks chasing does. In the pre-rut states of South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, and portions of Louisiana and Florida, hunters are seeing a definite uptick in buck movement.

    Those states are in the transition between pre-rut and rut. It's still a little early for does to be coming into estrus, but that's not stopping many young bucks from pursuing the females. Most of the bigger mature bucks are still waiting for the real thing. But most bucks are in the mood and are vulnerable to calling, rattling, and some doe-in-heat scent.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 23, 2013

    Falling Leaves Hide the Truth—Bucks Are Scraping

    1

    By Mike Bleech

    Overall Activity Status: In general, overall deer activity is increasing. Temperatures around the Northeast Region are getting closer to seasonal. This probably has more to do with increased movement than anything else.

    Fighting: Reports of fighting or sparring bucks increased over the past week.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 23, 2013

    More Bucks Moving After Sunrise

    1

    By David Draper

    I probably shouldn't say this out loud, but someone has to speak the truth: don't believe everything you read, particularly when it comes to deer hunting. Instead, let the deer dictate your hunting plans. [ Read Full Post ]

  • The Rut is Ramping Up, Nationwide

    2

    By Scott Bestul

    This is my favorite time of the hunting season. As recent dispatches from our rut reporters indicate, the hinges are starting to pop loose, and full-blown breeding bedlam should come busting through in just a week or two. But in the meantime, the days are getting cooler and buck activity is steadily ramping up at a time when the deer are still fairly predictable. It’s a great time to be in the woods, and it will only improve daily, making each new hunt full of promise. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 22, 2013

    Activity Slow Now, But Give It a Week

    1

    By Will Brantley

    Overall Activity Status: My buddy Jimbo Robinson down in Tennessee put it this way: “It’s been suck city here, Brantley. We’ve got a full moon and a bumper acorn crop, and the deer aren’t moving at all.”

    Fighting: Robinson noted that bachelor groups are only now breaking up in southwest Tennessee, but that makes sense. The rut in that part of the world doesn’t really begin kicking until the end of November or first of December. Bucks have been broken up for a few weeks around in my neck of the woods, and fighting is becoming more frequent.

    Rub Making: Although rubs aren’t hard to find right now, I’m not seeing as many as I typically do at this time of year. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 21, 2013

    A Bull And A Buck In Wolf Country

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    By Jeff Holmes

    Bill Williams of Lewiston, Idaho, hunts a portion of the storied Clearwater River Country that has been less popular with hunters over the last several years because of the presence of wolf packs and resulting shifts in deer and elk populations and behaviors. Late last week, amidst fewer competing hunters than normal – both human and canine – Williams took this bull elk in the morning and dropped this big, mature whitetail in the evening.
     
    “A lot of people won’t even hunt here anymore,” said Williams of his favorite spot in the mountains of north central Idaho, a state that is perhaps home to the best whitetail opportunities anywhere in the West. [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 21, 2013

    Smaller Bucks Active; Rubbing and Sparring on the Rise

    1

    By Brandon Ray

    Overall Activity Status: The full moon this past weekend was to blame for slow action, according to my contacts. Most reported the usual: does and small bucks active during the last 30 minutes of the day; no sightings of big bucks. Ronnie Parsons in the Texas Hill Country reported very little activity. Shawn Hoover and his son Dylan, hunting the youth season in Oklahoma, reported seeing only a few does, and those were not moving until after sunset near agriculture. Whit Peterman, hunting his family's place in Bosque County, reported slow hunting. Rusty Sims, hunting the Texas Panhandle, passed up a young 130-class buck in the evening. The following evening, he got a shot at a 140-inch 10-point buck. He is the only one I talked to that saw good bucks this weekend.

    Fighting: We're getting a few pictures of bucks sparring on trail cameras. Expect that to go up a notch as we transition from October to November. Older bucks get less tolerant of small bucks in their space the closer we get to the rut.

    [ Read Full Post ]

  • October 18, 2013

    Bucks Will Pick Up the Pace This Weekend

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    By Mike Bleech

    Somewhere in this Northeast Region, probably somewhere not far from you, a buck is hot on the heels of a doe. We are into the time frame when does in most, if not all, of this region might start coming into heat. In Stockton, Ohio, which is at the edge of the center section of the Wayne National Forest, Randy Bebout, owner of Bebout Archery, said he has gotten word of at least a couple of bucks chasing does. He also has reports of bucks sparring. Yet, like most of my contacts, he made a point of adding that temperatures had been high, and were just starting to change. That, he said, should get the bucks moving more.

    "We're still really hot," said Marty Harrington at Marty's Sports in Bennington, Vermont earlier this week. No one has reported seeing any big bucks. There are rubs in his area, but not a lot of scrapes.

    [ Read Full Post ]

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