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: With cooler days, overall deer activity has increased. However, even though temperatures have come down it is still unseasonably warm in most parts of the Northeast Region.
Fighting: There have been no reports of bucks fighting. Of course this does not mean it is not happening, however fighting is unlikely unless bucks of equal stature are after the same hot doe.
Rub & Scrape Making: Kirk Rudzinski was hunting out of a tree stand this week, but decided to take a stroll. Along the way he saw more scrapes and rubs than he has seen at any other time this fall. In a relatively small area he saw several different rub lines and scrape lines. One rub on a hemlock tree–about six inches in diameter–was so fresh it was wet, he said.
Chasing & Other Estrous Signs: This Thursday evening, while driving home after hunting on the Allegheny National Forest, a doe scurried across the road right in front of me. Fortunately I was driving slowly. I had barely stopped when a buck crossed the road hot on the trail of the doe.
The buck did not have a particularly big rack, but with just two days remaining in the Pennsylvania firearms deer season, and one of those spoiled by other business, I sure wish I had seen it while I was in the woods hunting.
Other hunters have been reporting similar sightings this week. We might call this a second rut peak. It was hard to tell when the first peak passed, but this second peak is maybe more obvious than the first peak, which is not the way it is supposed to be.
Daytime Movement: Look for increased daytime activity around the full moon.
X Factor: Get out there and hunt. With a second rut peak in progress across much of the Northeast Region, daytime buck movements have increased. Pull out all the stops. Try grunting, bleating and rattling antlers. In the case of the latter, just some light clanks should suffice.
Perhaps the biggest difference between hunting now and hunting earlier in the season is that hunting pressure is significantly less now, assuming that deer season is still open where you hunt. What this means is that you can formulate a hunting plan and carry it out with no interference by other hunters. This is big in our heavily hunted part of the country