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.



Hunting seasons have been open for about a week or more in all four Great Plains states, and reports from hunters across the region are starting to trickle in. Unfortunately, trophy photos are still non-existent as it seems that bucks hunters had been watching all summer have disappeared. Such is the nature of early season, especially a warm one like we’ve had so far this year.

Much of the region has yet to experience a hard frost, and daytime temperatures are still running in the 80s, making for some hot, mosquito-heavy days on stand. It’s also transition time as bachelor groups starting breaking up and food sources change, though an alfalfa field that has been hot all summer is still going to hold plenty of deer.

South Dakota deer hunter John Lubeck says he and his friends saw only does, and younger ones at that, during last week’s archery opener there. They surmised the bucks were waiting until after dark to get on their feet and move around. John did send in this August trail cam picture of some East River bucks he’s hoping to catch on their feet in the daylight sometime in the coming weeks.

A couple of my contacts passed along a second-hand story of one of their friends that experienced some rut-like action on stand in the Nebraska Panhandle last weekend. It seems bucks were chasing and fighting as if it were mid-November. The hunter claims to have even rattled in three different deer in one evening. Not sure if this is a case of that mythical doe that cycles early, of just some random behavior in the ever-mysterious world of the whitetail. I have a message to the hunter asking for more info and will pass it along when I get it.