Acorns Start Dropping, Deer Start Changing

Overall Activity Status: Whitetail activity appears to be good as a whole, but hunters are starting to notice some shifts in behavior and feeding patterns. The first white oak acorns of the season are starting to drop, an annual happening that will pull deer off fields, food plots, and other areas of high visibility. Bucks that have seemed locked into feeding patterns may seem to disappear. If there are white oaks in the area, count on deer being on the acorn wagon. Soft mast crops, such as apples and persimmons, are another secluded food source that bucks may investigate.

Fighting: I've heard no reports of hard-core fighting, but as more and more bucks shed velvet, sparring is picking up. Bucks love to test their mettle while fresh in the hard antler phase!

Rub Making: Older bucks are making the first rubs of the season, and several reports of hashed-up trees--particularly near food sources--have been sent my way. Though many hunters dismiss these rubs, especially if they're made on saplings and even bushes, they're often the work of a mature buck.

Scrape making: I've had three hunting buddies report finding fresh scrapes as they scouted in preparation for the upcoming archery season. As with rubs, these early scrapes are almost always the work of an older animal feeling the first flush of testosterone.

Daytime Movement: Evening feeding activity has continued to be strong in my area, especially as much-needed rains have visited the region. Rains have re-charged popular food sources like alfalfa and clover, grasses and forbs, and I've spotted many deer feeding well before dusk.

Estrous signs and chasing: Virtually non-existent right now. Almost every mature doe I've seen of late has still had her fawns in tow.

X-Factor: Rain seems to have whitetails excited about feeding again, and even heavy dews in the morning have helped recharge some of the plants that whitetails feed on. After a long, dry summer, things could be lining up for an exciting archery opener as several states open next weekend.