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: Deer were very active late this week across much of the Northeast Region. Most hunters seem to attribute this to a drop in temperature. Our trucker friend Dave Baker said yesterday, while crossing northern Pennsylvania into New Jersey on Interstate Route 80, he saw a large number of recent road-killed deer.
Fighting: Most fighting now is done, since dominance was established weeks ago. The exception will be when two bucks of fairly equal status, which are after the same doe, may get into a furious brawl.
Rub Making: Most rubbing has already been done. Occasionally, though, a buck may wage war on brush. This only barely resembles a scrape.
Chasing: Dave Baker counted more than a third of the road-killed deer he saw yesterday were bucks. This is a pretty good indication that bucks have lost a lot of their wariness, because they have been chasing hot does. Several of our contacts have said that either they, or others they talk with, have watched bucks chasing does for at least the past week. My bowhunting partner, Mike Stimmell, saw a couple of bucks that might have been chasing does. The bucks responded to a mock scrape, but by the time they were close enough for his bow, it was getting too late to shoot.
Daytime Movement: Daytime movement does not seem to be as frequent as it often is during the peak of the rut, though some is occurring. Of course there will be exceptions in some places. Remember that nothing about the rut holds true everywhere in the region, even from one county to the next.
Estrous Signs: Ron Burnett at No. 9 Lake Outfitters sent this photo, taken last week of a buck visiting a scrape; one of three he photographed at this scrape. Certainly they appear to be looking for a hot doe. Deer are somewhat behind most of the region in the rut process in his area in the far north of Maine.
X Factor:** This is the time most deer hunters dream about, at least it is in most of the region. The extreme north and the extreme south may be exceptions, but only by a week, meaning the rut should go on for another week there.
Since bucks may be chasing does, luring them into range with a grunt tube or by rattling probably will not do much good. One great set-up is in a funnel spot. A funnel is a good place for a stand just about any time.