Rut Reporter David Draper grew up hunting deer and small game throughout this region and presently lives on a family farm in Nebraska. Draper, former communications specialist for Cabela’s and an authority on the Great Plains, subsists on a diet of duck breast and venison. States covered: ND, SD, NE and KS.

I recently received yet another report of a buck chasing, this time from the southeastern corner of Kansas, where bowhunter Nathan Oehlert spent Wednesday and Thursday in a treestand. Here’s his report:

“I went hunting Wednesday and again yesterday evening. Passed up a 130-class buck both nights, but last night I caught a glimpse of a big one chasing a doe. Only saw him through my binoculars for a few seconds when they ran by so I don’t know exactly how big he was, but I know that he was bigger than any I have pictures of. Haven’t ever seen one chasing like that this early before, but that sure looked like what had to be going on. I was hoping to get a closer look at him, but they never came back out into the field.”

I’m not sure what to attribute all this early chasing to. Global warming, maybe? But seriously, it does lend credence to Whitetail 365 blogger and fellow Rut Reporter Scott Bestul’s belief that a small percentage of does come into estrus well before what is typically consider the rut. This also means it’s not too early to put your rut strategies in place, including capitalizing on buck movement by creating a mock scrape or doe-estrus drip.


Oehlert also passed along some trail cam images, including this video from a few weeks ago that shows a hard-horned buck running with one that appears to still be in velvet. My guess was the velvet buck was a steer, or had otherwise sustained some type of injury, so I followed-up with Oehlert, who has seen, and had a shot at, the deer since the video was taken.

“Yes that deer was still in velvet, but he is hard horned now. My first thought was that something was wrong too. I would have already killed him if he wasn’t broke off at his main beam on that one side! That’s awful late for him to still be in velvet though!”

Looking forward to hearing more from Nathan Oehlert as the Kansas season progresses.