Northeast Rut Reporter Mike Bleech has been hunting whitetails in his native Pennsylvania and throughout the Northeast for more than four decades. A Vietnam veteran and full-time freelance outdoor writer, Bleech has had more than 5000 of his articles published. States covered: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA OH, MD, DE.
Overall Activity Status:** A drop in temperatures across much of the region is the main reason for increased activity starting yesterday.
Fighting: Fighting could happen, but so far there have been no reports. Bucks are not often seen fighting, though, so this can go unnoticed. However, the bulk of fighting has not yet happened.
Rub Making: Most bucks have shed their velvet. Accordingly, some rubs are starting to show up. It has long been assumed by many hunters that rubbing is the way bucks get rid of the velvet on their antlers. Actually this is not the case. A buck may rub while some shreds of velvet still hang from the antlers, but rubbing is more often a sort of mock fighting. Some rubs were obviously done very aggressively, with several shrubs rubbed and some torn out by the roots. This is almost certainly done by larger bucks because it takes tines to tangle the brush enough to pull it out by the roots.
Chasing: It is a little too early to see bucks chasing hot does. It could happen, but very unlikely. This will gradually pick up after mid-October, then peak in November.
Daytime Movement: There has been some daytime movement reported over the past couple of days. This likely is a result of the full moon. Perhaps the biggest effect caused on deer by a full moon is altering the time of day, or night, when they are active.
Estrous Signs:** Too soon.
X Factor: Some deer seasons are getting underway. Bucks probably will not be traveling with does. However, both doe and buck movements will be related to feeding, so place your stands accordingly. Those deep, well worn trails probably are not the places where you will see the older bucks. This is one of the most important keys to early season hunting.