Although I stated last Sunday would be a big day for deer movement on the heels of the storm that swept across the region, if the deafening silence coming from my contacts is any indication, I may have been a bit premature on my weather predictions. In the western half of the Great Plains, high winds continued into Sunday, though temperatures did warm back up. Deep snow west of the river in South Dakota has also kept hunters out of the fields there. Even the normally buzzing outdoor forums were relatively quiet.
Deer have also seemed to take a cue from hunters and gone dark this week. It’s little early for the October lull to start, but that could be exactly what’s happening here. I also expect we’re seeing some hangover effect from last year’s EHD outbreak, with less deer in the woods overall. Great Plains hunters have been pretty spoiled for the last decade with high deer numbers and liberal tag availability. Now that there’s been a correction, we’re faced with a new normal that is going to take some getting used to.
Still, there are some good deer in the woods, and though they’ve been hiding lately, the bucks can’t ignore the biological urge to breed. This is evidenced by the rubs that have been showing up overnight and the light sparring that’s been reported by those hunters who have been on stand recently. Here in the coming weeks, bucks will be on their feet even more than usual seeking out those early does as they start cycling into estrous. If hunters want to fill their tag, they better be out there to intercept them.