Nov. 20: A few weeks ago, whitetail researcher Gary Dusek said that in his years of professional and hunting experience, his best buck hunting in the Inland Northwest has been within a day or two either side of Nov. 17. Today I can report that a whole bunch of hunters wholeheartedly agree.


Northwestern Montana hunter Randy Houk of Columbia Falls (in photo above) bagged this 170-point-class buck on Nov. 17, thanks to a combination of factors in his favor, including the cold, snowy weather and an active rut. Some hunters in that area are predicting rutting activity will peak this weekend.


John Eliason of Spokane rattled in the other buck shown above to within 25 yards before adding it to his wall collection on Nov. 17. He’d been monitoring active scrapes and the buck came in to the the clacking of the pair of antlers in the background like a freelance outdoor writer to a free food buffet.

The cold and snow hitting the region helped matters, but the active rut is the key right now. It’s obvious from the reports coming in that hunters are seeing and bagging more bigger bucks this week than they did the week before.

Friday was the last day of the late season in Eastern Washington.