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 5,000 of his articles published. States covered: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA OH, MD, DE.

Last fall John Stahon of Erie, Pennsylvania, e-mailed me asking which day he should miss work to spend all day on his tree stand. The result was a buck of a lifetime.

Saturday at 8:30 a.m., Stahon made it two years in a row. While I doubt if he would discount the luck factor, it appears that he has more than luck going for him. He played the rut trump card again, and made it work for him. “I put out some doe estrus by my stand, two little cans that I hung in my shooting lanes,” Stahon said.


Stahon feels the rut is in full swing now. What followed appear to back up his feeling.

“A doe came running in fast and was bothered by something. Quickly a small 4-point buck ran in chasing her,” he said. “The doe wanted nothing to do with the buck.” That is typical behavior, even for a doe in heat. A girl has to play hard to get. Or maybe she was just waiting for her dream buck.

“After they ran off, about 15 minutes later the buck that I harvested came in smelling the ground. He was moving pretty quickly, so I grunted when he was in the shooting lane.”

Again, a grunt tube played an important part in a hunt (see my previous blog). This may be a buck hunter’s most important accessory.

“He stopped and I double-lunged him. He went maybe 30 yards after the shot. It happened so fast!”

It does appear that the peak of the rut, if not here, is at least very close. The time of the year is right, if not the phase of the moon.