_Northeast Rut Reporter Mike Bleech has been hunting whitetails in his native Pennsylvania and throughout the Northeast for more than four decades. A Vietnam veteran and full-time freelance outdoor writer, Bleech has had more than 5000 of his articles published. States covered: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA OH, MD, DE
Oct. 21- Overall Activity Status: Big bucks have started making their presence known from Ohio across Pennsylvania to Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and north to central New York, a sign they are getting aroused. Steve Topper, a serious bowhunter I met during a successful bear hunt for both of us in New Brunswick, says that in his home area of Connecticut he thinks abundant acorns have deer spread out which makes finding them difficult, a common theme throughout the Northeast. Low deer numbers in Maine make for a similar situation.
Fighting:** Dominance has been established. Hunters have reported seeing big bucks chasing off smaller bucks simply by taking a few steps toward them.
Rub Making:** Rub making has been unusually sparse, but picked up this week.
Chasing: The only incidences of bucks chasing does do not seem to be serious mating attempts.
Daytime Movement: Daytime movement has declined across much of the region, probably due to more hunters afield. Deer, especially older bucks and does, back off to mostly nighttime activity when they know they are being pursued. That changes with does coming into heat. Lower temperatures would contribute to more daytime activity.
Estrous Signs:** Not a single report of seeing a doe in heat, but that probably will change over the next few days.
X Factor: Rut hunting is typically best when the Hunter’s Moon occurs during the first half of November over much of this region. That is when it seems to affect the greatest proportion of deer in any given area. This year there is an October 23 full moon, then a November 21 full moon.
Expect peak rutting activity to be spread between these two full moon periods, which includes three days on either side of the full moon. Bowhunters in many states in our region cannot be hunting the November full moon because season is closed. If you don’t live there and can afford the time and expense, you might want to hunt Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, or Rhode Island at that time. Circle Ohio for trophy hunters. In the most popular deer hunting state in this region, Pennsylvania, all deer hunters miss that full moon, however firearms hunting season is open in most states.