Late Season Provides Localized Opportunities

Overall Activity Status: While things remain quiet on much of the Plains, reports of rut activity have been coming in from all corners of the region. This is the nature of the secondary rut, when any does not bred in December come into a second cycle, providing hotspots of action here and there. Daniel McVay, hunting on the Kansas-Oklahoma border, reports a lot of rut activity happening there right now.

“[We’ve] seen six mature bucks locked down with does in the last couple of days,” McVay said. “There are still some does that don’t look like they have been bred. It’s a really good time to hunt as the bucks that don’t have a doe are really cruising.”

Sparring: None reported. In fact, hunters are starting to see smaller bucks running together again as deer start to come together into winter herds.

Rubs: None reported.

Scrapes: Most scrapes have gone dormant. However, any bucks still out cruising may swing by to scent-check them. If you find an active scrape now, it might be smart to hunt it in hopes of catching a late-season bruiser.

Chasing: The woods are very quiet over much of the region.

Estrous Signs: A few of my contact reported seeing some does that appeared hot. Henry Obermeier checked in from central Nebraska with this report:

“Buck movement has picked up in that last week. They seem to be cruising again. I'd say the yearling does and other does that were missed first cycle are coming in. I've heard and seen pics of two big deer killed in the last couple days following does. So if you have a tag to fill and time to get out do it odds are good right now.”