Overall activity status: Deer movement has been fairly good, despite some warm weather across the region. In my area, deer are feeding on field edges in the evening, with alfalfa fields lined with oaks (acorns are starting to fall) their favorites. There’s a major cool front hitting the Upper Great Lakes this evening, which should further spur deer activity.
Fighting: I’ve not heard of, or witnessed, any sparring or fighting, but velvet shed is happening in a major way right now, so I expect reports of brawls and skirmishes to start popping up all over.
Rub making: The first rubs are starting to appear, especially near food sources. While big bucks will certainly pick on thick-trunked trees now, they don’t limit rubbing to them. When I find rubs on any tree–regardless of diameter– I attribute it to a nice buck until proven otherwise.
Scrape making: I’ve found two scrapes within the last five days; one located on the edge of a secluded food plot, the other in a staging area off a large cornfield. This is an exciting development, as I always assign early season scrapes to the work of a mature buck. Young bucks make scrapes, of course, but its more an instinctual behavior the occurs closer to the rut. In my opinion, mature bucks lay down scrapes in order to start advertising dominance.
Chasing and Estrous signs: None to report.
Daytime movement: With the heat and humidity of the last two weeks, daytime movement has generally been down. However, most deer are still feeding at some point in the day, even if it’s in the last half hour of the evening.
X-factor: Acorns will continue to be the major x-factor influencing where and when deer move in the next few weeks. I’ve been impressed by the acorn drop so far; the wet spring we had must have made conditions excellent for oaks that were ready to produce a crop. As several major bowhunting states (MN, WI and MO) open within the next few days, hunters who’ve taken the time to scout oak stands will enjoy the most success.