Overall activity status: Deer activity is still slow across much of the area, although I did see one photo pop up on my Facebook feed of a nice buck taken by a friend in western Nebraska on the heels of last weekend’s storm. I haven’t been able to track down details, but when I do, I’ll be sure to pass them along. Although mild weather ruled during the middle of the week, another front is passing through to start this coming weekend, bringing rain and extreme high winds with it. Still, deer need to feed, so intrepid hunters might be able to catch a buck between cover and crop fields at first and last light.
Fighting: Been hearing a few reports of deer tickling antlers, but things haven’t gotten too aggressive yet. That will change in the coming days as bucks work out dominance issues in advance of the rut.
Rub/Scrape Making: These seasonal signposts are starting to show up, particularly in the eastern half of the Great Plains region where an excellent mast crop is keeping deer on the acorns rather than in the corn and alfalfa fields.
Daytime movement: As you can see in these photos, which were captured last Friday and Saturday in northwestern Nebraska by Hips Archery pro staffer Casey Danielson, the severe storm that passed through that area didn’t stop deer from moving during the daylight hours.
Estrous signs: None reported.
X Factor: High winds in excess of 40 miles per hour are buffeting the western half of the region as I write this, with gusts to 60 forecast for Friday and early Saturday. That will keep deer movement to a minimum, but it also offers a chance to do some windshield scouting. Sustained high winds greatly reduce a deer’s defenses to hear, see and even smell. That’s when open-country whitetails will start acting like mule deer, bedding down in the middle of fields or pastures where they can see a threat approaching from long distances. Sure, this makes them hard to hunt, but by driving the backroads this weekend you might be able to spot a deer you hadn’t previously seen this season.