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:** Very clearly deer activity has picked up over most of the Northeast Region over the past few days. Trucker Dave Baker today said that he has been seeing many more deer, and many more dead deer including several bucks.
Fighting: Most fighting has concluded, although some hunters have been watching bucks touching antlers in a less than aggressive manner.
Rub Making: From Matt Rosenthal at Beaver Creek Fly Shop in Hagerstown, Maryland, comes news that hunters are finding many scrapes and rub lines. “They’re really getting cranked up now,” he said. “The scrapes are huge and tons of rub lines can be seen along the paths to and from the bedding areas and along the edges of crop fields. I’d say the next several days we should be in peak rut. Several great bucks are being taken throughout the area with archery equipment. The game is on!”
Meanwhile, at the other end of the region in northern Maine, Don Burnett reports from No. 9 Lake Outfitters that activity has picked up, though not as much as to the south. He has seen several rubs and scrapes along logging roads. The peak of the rut has not yet arrived there, though.
Chasing: Hunters report watching bucks chase does, and several have taken nice bucks that were in the process of chasing.
Daytime Movement: “I have noticed a lot of tracks in the a.m. that were not there the evening before. I think the bucks are still sitting tight during the day, and the does are not very active while it is so warm,” Don Burnett said.
That is the exception. Baker noted that yesterday and the day before he saw several groups of does feeding in fields during the day. That was across Ohio and central Pennsylvania.
X Factor: We are into the peak of the rut in much of the region, everywhere but the far north. As of yesterday it seemed that the rut was in slightly different stages, but things are happening so fast. Be sure to carry your grunt tube while hunting now (I think you always should). It is highly unlikely that you can call a buck away from a hot doe, but you might stop it briefly, or cause it to change course slightly. Then there are the peripheral bucks that usually hang around when a more mature buck is in hot pursuit of a doe. They can be grunted in near your stand.