Rut Reporter David Draper grew up hunting deer and small game throughout this region and presently lives on a family farm in Nebraska. Draper, former communications specialist for Cabela’s and an authority on the Great Plains, subsists on a diet of duck breast and venison. States covered: ND, SD, NE and KS.

Earlier this season, Rut Reporter Scott Bestul moved West with a report on the Great Plains region, so I thought I’d return the favor with some rut-related news from Illinois, where I’m hunting this week at Richardson Farms.

The main story here in the heartland has been the weather, with Mother Nature making things tough for hunters. While the rain and high winds have made things miserable for us, it hasn’t done much to dampen deer activity. In the past few days, I’ve caught quick glimpses of bucks chasing does and have had at least three different bucks cruise by my stand, grunting their way through the woods in search of a hot doe. Mossy Oak Pro Staffer Bucky Hauser watched a big 12-pointer try to breed a doe three different times yesterday evening, though she wouldn’t stand long enough to let it happen.

The one thing the cloud cover is doing is keeping deer active all day long, despite the fact we’re on the brink of a full moon. I sat on stand from sunup to sundown Monday, hoping to fill my tag before the weather moved in and have spent long days out Tuesday and Wednesday as well, with just short mid-day breaks to dry off and warm up. I, along with other hunters in camp, have seen deer movement at all times of the day as bucks seek out does, and orphan fawns wander the woods.

No trophy picture from me yet, though I’ve been close, coming to half draw just this morning before the buck stopped in some thick brush. I have a few more days to hunt, and with a predicted break in the weather on Thursday, I’m hoping it all finally comes together.