Welcome back old friends, and welcome new friends. I look forward to another fall of sharing information about white-tailed deer, particularly about their rutting behavior. We will be learning together. This is a never ending process, which is one of the reasons that hunting deer is so entrancing. It got into my blood when we liked Ike, even before I was old enough to carry a gun, and the thrill has never diminished. In fact, I am more apt to get ‘buck fever’ now than when I was a kid. I think the reason is the more that is learned about these animals, the more I appreciate them and the more exciting the chase gets.

One of the highlights from last year was new scientific information regarding the relationship between deer rutting and the phase of the moon. According to research done by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, what has been widely accepted for many years simply is not true. Any relationship between the rut and the phase of the moon is merely coincidental.

Of course many deer hunters will not believe this. It is true that supposed facts sometimes change. However, when it comes down to popular opinion versus scientific research, my science background forces me to go along with scientific research. Accepting this new information frees us from planning hunts based on what apparently was false information.

Still, a full moon during the first couple weeks of November will probably call me into the woods all day long.

Rutting continued in the Northeast Region last year past the time we concluded this rut blog. Even when rutting did cease, I was afield nearly every day, one of the perks of my job and living on the edge of a national forest.

Talking about the rut now stretches the concept only slightly since changes deer will be going through in coming days lead up to the rut.

Does and fawns make their presence well known now. In the area around my home I have seen an unusually high number of does with triplets. Likely that is due to the very mild winter that most of our Northeast Region had. This should also mean better racks.

Bucks, on the other hand, especially older bucks, tend to be shy while their antlers are still soft. Likely they are in the company of other bucks in more remote places where their antlers are not under constant threat of being damaged. We will be seeing more of them in the coming weeks.
Big woods, rolling farmland, woodlot, swamp, ridge and valley–this region features every type of whitetail terrain imaginable. 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_