Bleech: Bucks Still Fighting, but Chasing on the Rise

_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.
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Overall Activity Status: Activity of both bucks and does is picking up in most parts of the region. More dead deer can be seen along roadsides. Matt Rosenthal, at Beaver Creek Fly Shop in Hagerstown, Maryland, reported seeing increasing numbers of road-kills in his area. Hunters have been seeing more deer from their stands.

Fighting: Bucks are still fighting in many areas, while in others fighting is mostly done for the year. Jason Morrison, owner of Buckhaven Wildlife Art, in Sugar Grove, Pennsylvania--which is just a couple miles south of the New York border--said, "Monday night I had a customer that had a knock-down, drag-out fight right in front of him." And to the south Rosenthal said that friends have seen mock fighting between bucks.

Rub Making: You can find rubs just about everywhere there are deer in the Northeast Region.

Chasing: Driving through the Allegheny National Forest Wednesday evening, we watched one buck intently following a doe. Morrison's customers in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio report seeing bucks chasing does this week. Deer have been seen chasing in Maryland also.

Daytime Movement: Increased daytime movements are probably a result of lower daytime temperatures. Snow was falling in western New York Thursday afternoon.
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Estrous Signs:** Two other does we saw while driving through the Allegheny National Forest Wednesday night were acting as though they might be coming into heat, walking and milling around with their tails erect while most other does nearby were laying down.

David Hartman, president of New York State Whitetail Management Coalition, lives in the Catskill region in southeastern New York. He said that does have been chasing off their yearling bucks. But he has not heard about any hot does.

Farther north, in northern Maine, bucks still are not hanging around the does. There is no sign of impending breeding.

X Factor: Morrison says this last week of October just before the peak of the rut in his area is his favorite time to bowhunt. Bucks can still be called in by grunting, whereas once they are chasing does nothing will distract them. Morrison reports, "A lot of scrapes naturally. They're starting to see more bucks visiting scrapes during daylight hours.

Rosenthal thinks the peak of the rut is a couple of weeks away in Maryland. In the mid parts of the region the first week of November should be the first week of a two-week peak.

"Hap" Albaugh, 90 years-old hunter from Clarendon, Pennsylvania, has now harvested deer in nine decades. After walking back and forth to his stand three times, 175 yards each way, he took this doe at 4:55 P.M.