Overall activity status: With buck sightings at a season-long high and does running through the woods, it’s safe to say the rut is firing on all cylinders this week. From north to south, my contacts have all reported deer activity, indicating it’s a great time to be in the woods. The only fear, for those that believe in it, is that lockdown is just days away from happening. Thus the nature of mid-November deer hunting on the Great Plains–from all-out madness to all-out silence in just a few days time.
Fighting: The switch seems to have flipped, with bucks going from fighting each other to finding hot does and harassing them instead. That doesn’t mean you should forgo some rattling this week, though, as a well-staged fight will still draw curious bucks into range.
Rub/Scrape Making: Jeremy Atkins of Big and J says there have been a lot of fresh scrapes showing up as his farm in eastern Nebraska, where his friend John Buhay killed this solid buck on Veteran’s Day.
Daytime movement: Kansas hunter Clete Frazell texted me a report straight from his treestand on Wednesday night:
“I have put in two all day sits on Tuesday and today Wednesday. So far I have seen 11 bucks and 13 does. Nine of those bucks were Pope & Young caliber. The biggest was an 8-point with matching splits off his G2s and would have grossed close to 150. He was 10 yards from me and I had no shot. All of these bucks were either chasing a does or cruising through looking for does. Hottest action has been between 10 & 2 o clock!”
Estrous signs: Hips Targets Pro Staffer Casey Danielson e-mailed in to say the rut in Nebraska’s Pine Ridge is going hot and heavy. “Been seeing lots of bucks with does out in the middle of nowhere,” said Danielson. “Calling is pretty effective but only smaller ones are coming in.”
In southeastern South Dakota, hunter Mike Bosma witnessed a mature buck breeding a doe this past Sunday. “Littler bucks came running from a half-mile away to chase and follow along,” he said.