No matter where you are, if bucks have not yet shed their velvet, expect it to happen soon. Between this report and the last we’ve seen a dramatic uptick in velvet loss. This was accompanied by an increase in buck movement.


Last Friday during a scouting trip in McKean County, Pennsylvania, in the big woods of the north-central area, we saw two bucks that had already shed their velvet. One was a 6-point, maybe 10 inches wide, with pleasing shape and mass. The other was an 8-point that appeared to be an older buck. This buck’s antlers were exceptionally wide for the big woods, maybe 22 inches on the outside, but the tines were short and the entire rack was on the thin side.

Since then I have been checking trail cameras. Every one of the bucks photographed had shed their velvet. A couple of bucks, a typical 5-point and an average 8, were on a trail cam set on the edge of a swamp, very close to the New York border in Warren County. The other buck, a modest 7-point, made a visit to a major scrape I have been watching closely since the start of last year’s Rut Report. Photos showed the buck urinating into the scrape, scratching dirt over the urine, and rubbing its preorbital glands on an overhanging limb.

Bill Vaznis, who is editor of Bear Hunter Online, reported that in his area, the Finger Lakes area of central New York, all of the big bucks have shed their velvet, though younger bucks were still in velvet as of early this week.

To the north in Vermont, Marty Harrington, at Marty’s Sports near Bennington, says that as of last night the bucks seen there were still in velvet.