Daytime movement: While no one I've talked to has put in any full days on stand, several hunters did report seeing deer on their feet as late as 9 a.m. In south-central Nebraska, hunter Justin Smith got into his stand around 3:30 last Saturday afternoon (three full hours before sunset) and immediately started seeing deer, including two matures bucks chasing a doe.
Estrous signs:** In addition to those two bucks chasing, Smith saw seven bucks chasing the same doe on Sunday evening. That follows reports from several sources of multiple bucks chasing single does, significant proof that does are starting to go into estrous. Kaiser also said several of his farmer friends in extreme northeastern Colorado "had a much higher number of good bucks laid up with does around their farms in late October, which I thought meant an early rut. I'm not sure I believe that now. Obviously, there is always a percentage of does that get bred in October. I think that was higher this year, but I don't think the peak [rut] will be earlier."
X Factor:** Don't forget about the does. As South Dakotan Spencer Neuharth shows in this photo, this is a great time of year for hunters with doe tags to fill their freezer. Increased hunter activity and chasing bucks will have does on their feet longer, plus the ladies are piling on the fat before winter, making food sources a prime place to set your ground blind or stand. That's exactly what Neuharth did to tag this fat East River doe.