Overall Activity Status: Sue Martin, owner of Broken Arrow Archery Shop in Newark, Ohio, said that bucks have shed velvet in her area, but otherwise not much has been happening. Even the number of hunters who hang around the shop to talk about deer is down. This is a pretty good sign that big bucks are not making appearances during daylight hours. Hunters get cranked up once they start to see the big racks.


Frank Havlick, at Frank’s Gun Shop on Highway 30 near Gloversville, New York, (near the southern edge of the Adirondacks), said that bucks are out of their velvet, but he has not seen any rubs or scrapes while scouting.

Fighting: No reports yet of bucks fighting.

Rub Making: Since Mike Stimmell found a rub behind his northwest Pennsylvania house last week, there have been no reports of fresh rubs.

Scrape Making: Rob Rogan, reporting from Connecticut, has seen a few scrapes. On my own trail camera line, I reported earlier that the big scrape I watched last fall had been hit recently. Since then, the only critter to visit the scrape has been a red fox. From its expression in the photo, it appeared to be interested in the odor coming from the scrape.

Chasing: No word yet on bucks chasing does. Too early for that.

Daytime Movement: One of my trail cameras revealed a couple of bucks moving during the day, and during an early evening roadside deer count we saw two big-woods bucks. Otherwise, no one has been reporting seeing bucks during the day.

Estrous Signs: Too early for does to come into heat, although it is not impossible.

X Factor: If my bowhunting season was open I might look for a place to set up a stand near apple trees, or where white oak acorns are falling. It is never too early to use a grunt tube, but other rut-related hunting tools will be more effective later.