Overall Activity Status: In general, deer are doing quite a bit of moving now. As usual, Mike Stimmell and I took our regular loop through the Allegheny National Forest the night before I writing this report. We saw at least 20 deer before getting a mile from his house. We had seen about 40 deer by the time the loop was finished at about 9:30 p.m. All of the deer were up and moving at first. But after about 8:45 p.m. all of the deer we saw, maybe a half-dozen, were bedded down.
We could positively identify three as bucks: a 7-point, a 5-point ,and a forkhorn. None of the racks was especially large.
Nights are cool now. A couple of nights ago I went outside to listen for coyotes at about 3:00 a.m. and the outside thermometer read 38 degrees. This cool air has the deer moving, but almost exclusively between sunset and an hour or so after sunrise, when it is still cool.
Fighting: Another report of a buck fight came in, plus a few reports of bucks sparring. Christopher Smith, who lives in the Syracuse, New York region, sent in the above photograph of a sparring match that he caught on a trail camera. That is a great bit of luck.
Rub Making: Rubs are common. Look for lines as a good place for trail cameras.
Scrape Making: Deer are doing a lot of scraping. Falling leaves make it hard to see the rubs, though.
Chasing: Still no chasing, and probably not for another week, at least.
Daytime Movement: It was in an area with apple trees. Several people have commented that they have not been seeing deer moving during the day, except for early mornings. But Christopher Smith caught a very nice buck, which appeared to be an 8-point, moving at 10:57 a.m.
Estrous Signs: Just a bit too soon, but maybe.
X Factor: Deer are on the move all over. One good clue noted by Field & Stream executive editor Mike Toth in New Jersey is a sharp increase in road kills, including bucks. Maybe the best place now for a deer stand is a funnel, some sort of physical, even manmade, features than crowd deer movements into a narrow corridor. Maybe the most common type in the Northeast Region is a steep hill on one side and water, maybe a creek, maybe a lake, on the other side.