The bucks of the nation’s prairie and grassland region seem to be getting bigger every season. 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, KS

Overall Activity Status: Oct. 1: It was a hot, dry September across the northern Great Plains. Daytime deer activity has been low, though there have been some good buck sightings in the early mornings. Not much rut activity reported.

Fighting: Some light sparring, but bucks are still being spotted in small bachelor groups.

Rub Making: There are a few fresh rubs popping up here and there, mostly in the northern tier.

Scrape Making: None reported.

Chasing: The only bucks seen near does have been spikes and yearlings.

Daytime Movement: Very limited due to hot weather. Some daytime movement by deer pushed out of corn by farmer activity has been noted.
Estrous Signs:** Does are showing no signs of the impending rut. Many still with fawns.

X Factor: Thoughts of last year’s late corn harvest has farmers in the fields early this year cutting high-moisture corn. Harvest across the region is ahead of schedule, which bodes well for farmers and hunters. Many bucks got a pass last year thanks to standing corn, and I expect some good Great Plains bucks to fall in 2010.