Rut Reporter Rich Landers, a native Montanan and life-long hunter, is the outdoors editor for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane. He has written several books about the western outdoors and has hunted whitetails all his life. States covered: WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO

Oct. 22: In southwestern Montana, some bucks have been following does out toward the fields, said Keith Miller of Montana Whitetails.


He sent the photo of the buck above as a case in point.

“There’s grunting but no chasing,” he said. “Just younger bucks looking for any signs of an early estrus doe.

“The buck behavior’s seemed to have taken a turn for the better over this past week, a little earlier than normal for this area as the bucks are more on edge and getting ready for what’s about to come!”

This past week was the first time Miller saw most bucks traveling by themselves. Posturing to other bucks in the feeding fields is taking place, as well, and there’s more aggressive sparring.