Landers: Montana Bucks on the Prowl

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.

Nov. 9: The deer in northwestern Montana "are very punctual," reports Ron Nail of Kalispell, who'd been seeing only sporadic rut activity in recent weeks. "Several scrapes have been opened this weekend. The pre-rut activity is taking off. Last evening I rattled in a nice little 2 1/2-year-old 4x4. So far the does could care less, but in a few days they also should start changing their attitude."

A few hundred miles away in Southeastern Montana, bucks have been showing more aggression. Following the action has been paying off for hunters. The nice buck pictured here was taken by a bowhunter out with Keith Miller's Montana Whitetails based out of Bozeman.

"We have been noticing a good number of bucks with broken antlers from fighting," Miller said. "Lots of aggressive behavior with rattling and grunting being really effective for our bowhunters at this time."

In the river bottoms and breaks, bucks are chasing does all over the place right now, he said. "Over the last two days it really picked up as far as the chase phase. The snow we got yesterday has been a blessing as deer movement has been extremely good. Small bucks and larger bucks are getting into the action as it seems like everything has come at once.

"Good time to be in a tree stand right now! Our bowhunters are seeing just as many bucks as does with all day movement above average."