Bullwinkle buck
Bestul got a picture of this stud in his home state of Minnesota back in July. Scott Bestul

It’s a given that, as a deer hunter, I get excited about fall. The promise of a new season is one that never grows old, and my proof is simple: This will be my 44th year chasing whitetails, and a huge part of me feels just like I did as I anticipated my first deer season, as a 12-year-old in Wisconsin.

But I have to say that the 2016 hunt is shaping up to be unique. I’ve not only had one of my personal best trail-camera summers ever, but I’m excited to be part of another season of rut reporting. Rut Reporters has always been an aggressive attempt at providing the most up-to-date information on deer hunting across the country. This year, we’ve amped things up a notch. There’ll be more real-time reporting than ever—more pics, more video, more this-is-what’s-happening-right-now—than we’ve ever attempted.

To pull this off we’ll be relying on the country’s top deer experts, whitetail guides, and biologists to provide us with updated info. We’ve got some impressive contacts in our stable, and our collective goal is to wear you out with deer info, both on our website and our various social media channels. At the very least, you should follow our Facebook page, as that’s where the bulk of the info will be found.

We’re also relying heavily on info from you. I don’t care if you’ve got 50 seasons of fade in your camo, or if you’ll be in the deer woods for the first time ever this fall. It doesn’t matter to us if you hunt 1,000 acres in Iowa, or a little woodlot in New Jersey … we’d love to see your trail cam pics, get your report on the acorn crop, learn how a recent snowfall got bucks running, and of course see your smiling face behind a buck or doe you’ve tagged. Just shoot me your report and pics to scottbestul50@gmail.com, and we’ll post your story as soon as we can.

In the meantime, I’ll be doing my best to put my own tag on one of several dandy bucks I’m hoping to see this fall. I don’t do anything near as mercenary as assembling a “hit list,” but I do keep a running lineup of bucks I’d sure like to bump into. Here’s just one of the deer that will keep me motivated all season.