Some very nice bucks have been shot in the region this week. But as good as things have been, they could get exponentially better in the next five days. While a warm, low-pressure system full of rain and humidity has blanketed the upper Midwest recently, that’s going to change dramatically Thursday night, into Friday. By this weekend, hard frost will be the norm at night, and daytime highs will peak in the mid-40s. Anyone who can bowhunt this weekend should spend as much time in the woods as possible.

Signs of impending pandemonium are everywhere, and this trail cam photo is Exhibit A. This buck was working a scrape a full hour before dusk, and when I see pics like this, I know that bucks are primed to start seeking does, and they’ll be on those search missions throughout the day. The only thing that I’ve seen that will stop them is weather: either a significant storm or hot and sticky weather that makes travel uncomfortable. If the predicted cold front materializes, there will be no barriers to deer travel.

Other sure-fire indicators exist; my inbox is starting to fill up with pics of fantastic bucks shot by hunters in the last week, including some truly mature deer. When big bucks start making major mistakes, I know the rut is starting to amp up in a major way. The latest proof occurred yesterday, when a Wisconsin friend shot a 7 ½-year old-10-point that grossed 171. This giant buck weighed close to 300 pound field-dressed, and had been a star of trail cam photos for several seasons. Truly old deer don’t slip up very often, and when they do the rut is usually responsible.

Of course, if you’re not hunting a grizzled old veteran like this, the news is even better. I got a call from a logger buddy yesterday, who pulled up to a job site and saw a 2 ½-year-old 9-point walking toward his truck in the early morning light. Tom emerged from his truck and kept talking to me; the buck heard Tom’s voice and continued to walk dopily toward my friend, finally stopping at a distance of 20 yards. Already fueled by testosterone, a buck like that will become even more active if we get the predicted weather system. The message is clear: get out in the woods…NOW!!!