As the Rut Winds Down, Big-Buck Action Cranks Up

Peak rutting activity is definitely on the downswing, but that doesn't mean the best hunting is past us. Some of the season's best action for older deer is happening right now. I endured a bitter-cold, all-day sit earlier this week and had one of the best hunts of the fall. Between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. I saw no fewer than five bucks, including a borderline shooter (which I decided he was on the low side of the borderline and passed) and a certifiable giant that never quite got close enough for a bow shot. All the bucks were chasing the same estrous doe. As if to prove that day was not a fluke, I went out two days later and rattled a nice two-year old buck into bow range. They're still out there and looking hard.

Ben Reynolds, of BBT Outfitters in French Lick, Indiana (812-653-1290) emailed a report of a similar situation in his area. "After dropping off one of my clients I glassed some grain fields that we have just finished harvesting, and they were full of does due to the recent cold temps. There were three 150-class bucks going doe to doe, looking for the right one. This tells me that most of the does have been bred, and the bucks are on the move again. There should be some huge deer killed in the next several days. It's like hunting the pre-rut again but with cold temps and does concentrated in the main feeding areas."

Meanwhile, Illinois' first shotgun season has concluded, and it's no surprise that the Prairie State has produced another huge buck. I haven't been able to verify any details about this deer except that it was killed in Ogle County. The giant has 20 scoreable points, and according to veteran B&C scorer Tim Walmsley, if the buck's right side matched its left, it would threaten the typical world record. Score aside, what an amazing animal!