Overall Activity: Rating overall deer activity right now is very difficult. Food is king in the whitetail world at this stage of fall, and if you’ve got the hot food source, you’ll have great hunting. Just ask Matt Serwa, who shot the gigantic Wisconsin buck pictured above. Serwa was hunting a food plot in Shawano County when this 19-point, 201-3/8″ (gross green score) giant walked in and gave the 35-year-old hunter a 15-yard shot. His peep sight twisted as he drew, and he missed when he tried the shot anyway. The buck trotted off a short ways and gave Serwa a second opportunity, which the shaken hunter (who’d corrected the peep problem) botched. But for some folks the third time is indeed charmed, and Matt made his final arrow count. Congrats to Matt on an awesome trophy.


Fighting: I’ve heard a few more reports of sparring, as bucks disperse to new territory in the aftermath of bachelor-group breakup.

Rub Making: I’ve seen several fresh rubs during my scouting jaunts and as I’ve walked to stands. This sign is definitely on the rise. The best places to search for rubs right now are on the edge of food sources and nearby staging areas.

Scrape Making: Most of the scrapes I’ve seen are, like rubs, located near food or in nearby cover. We’re about 8 to 10 days away from serious scrape-making, but more will pop up as the days progress; so keep checking those prime staging areas and travel routes connecting food sources.

Chasing: Nothing to report this week. I do expect an early doe or two will enter estrous soon and kick-start a small flurry of chasing in the days ahead.

Daytime Movement: Warm temps have been common across the region, stifling a lot of afternoon activity. Iowa bowhunter Barry Wensel emailed to say he’d had a good morning sit on the Hawkeye State opener (October 1st). “I saw a flock of turkeys, a doe, two 4X4s, and a third buck I couldn’t identify. It felt good to be back in the saddle again.”

X-Factor: Illinois outfitter Joe Gizdic called to say that acres of standing corn could be a huge influence on the amount of buck activity hunters see this fall. “With much of the corn crop planted late in the Midwest, the harvest will be delayed; count on farm-country bucks to use the standing corn as cover as long as it’s available,” Gizdic said.