Whitetail Hunting photo
Whitetail Hunting photo


Our early bow season opened near the end of September, and here’s what’s been most apparent here so far:

1. There’s a ton of buck sign. In my area, where deer densities are pretty low and the buck-to-doe ratio pretty pathetic, bucks typically lay down very little sign–particularly not before the middle of October. This year, starting in mid-September, I’ve been finding more rubs than ever, as well as several scrapes, which had me pretty pumped at first.

2. There are acorns everywhere. I can’t take a step without rolling on dozens.

3. I am getting my buck kicked so far. Five sits; five skunks. Now, getting skunked in my part of the country is no anomaly, but friends in some of the best parts of the Midwest say they’re getting it handed to them, too.

Seems like all three are related. In doing some research for another website project, I came across an article we ran by well-known researcher Dr. Karl V. Miller, who wrote:

My own research in northern Georgia clearly indicates that the number of rubs and scrapes is closely tied to annual variations in the acorn crop. In years of a mast failure, bucks here reduce their signposting activities ahead of the rut, apparently because their search for food leaves less time and perhaps less energy for it. It seems that acquiring food actually becomes more important than sex.

If the opposite is true, that explains all the sign. And all the acorns probably explain the skunks. With nuts all over the woods, I’m guessing a lot of bucks don’t even need to leave their bedrooms to grab a daylight meal.

So what’s the story in your neck of the woods? Just as much sign but a lot fewer skunks I hope.