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.


Deer sightings are on the upswing across the Great Plains as we approach the dark side of the moon on October 26. Couple that with rising testosterone levels and you have all the makings of a prime week to spend all your free time in your deer stand. South Dakota hunter John Lubeck hunts East River and reports that he and his buddies are starting to see a lot more deer as temperatures have cooled off and corn is cut.

If that’s not enough to convince you to go hunting, maybe region-wide reports of pre-rut activity will get you motivated. Clete Frazell sat on stand for a few days earlier this week and sent in this update:

Sat for two hunts this past week–saw three does and four bucks. Rubs starting to appear all over the place, but have not noticed a scrape to date yet, although I’m sure there are several by now. The biggest buck came in about 20 minutes before dark and was a 130-class 8-point with a wide frame. I think he was a 3-1/2 year old, so next year or two he will be the top dog if he makes it through the season.

Frazell also passed along this picture entitled Freak Nasty. No details on the big non-typical deer yet, but the e-mail stated that it was killed in Kansas.

Reports from northwest Kansas have bucks sparring and posturing for dominance, with rubs showing up there as well. Cabela’s Outdoor Adventures Hunting Consultant Jason Berger passed along this pic from one of his outfitters of a nice buck running with a doe. Berger says he has outfitters in the region that still have openings this season for anyone looking for a last-minute deer hunt.


Justin Smith passed along a second-hand report from a friend in southwest Nebraska who watched a 140-class whitetail work a scrape and rub near his stand earlier in the week. At Justin’s spot on the North Platte River, he states the corn is out and mature bucks are starting to move.

All things considered, the October lull looks to be a myth on the Great Plains as deer, and deer hunters, are getting a jump on the rut. Might be a good time to call in sick.