Antler Velvet Coming Off on the Great Plains

With just a few exceptions, most of my contacts have been conspicuously quiet this past week, which I'm attributing to some pre-game jitters as we approach opening day. Kansas and Nebraska openers are this coming weekend, while North Dakota starts a youth season on September 14. South Dakota bowhunters have to wait until the 23rd to get in the field, giving my friends there an extra week of scouting and preparation. The hunters I did talk to had mixed reports about the year, with some expressing concerns about EHD (which I'll cover in an upcoming report) and others already patterning specific bucks.

In Kansas, Curt Frazell passed along these photos that illustrate where we are in the year. In a couple of trail cam pics taken just 10 minutes apart, you can see a buck still in velvet and another with fully clean antlers. I bet that nice 9-point is stripped clean by now as well, and the boys are starting to tickle antlers in preparation for the rut. Frazell has his eye on a particular whitetail, so I look forward to following his hunts throughout the year and reporting on them here.

The drought has put harvest ahead of schedule in many parts of the Great Plains. Across the road from me, the farmer knifed his beans last week and is picking them up today. I've heard a few reports of other farmers in the area cutting corn already, a full month ahead of schedule. I expect this, along with the waning moon, to put more deer on their feet during the daylight hours and more reports to come trickling in from my contacts in the field. Stay tuned.