Overall Activity Status: The level of activity going on now depends a lot on where you are. In general, there is less activity than a week, or two ago, but still deer are active.
Fighting: No fighting has been reported.
Rub Making: Bucks are not doing a lot of rubbing now. Most of this took place earlier in the rut period. But in some areas, things are different. John Havlick, at Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop near Gloversville, New York, reported some fresh rubs. His area includes the southern part of the Adirondacks.
Scrape Making: Havlick said hunters in his area were seeing a lot of fresh scrapes about two weeks ago. Now it has tapered off. Overall, though, there is probably more scraping than rubbing now.
Chasing: Quite a bit of chasing is going on now in some areas, which means the rut is peaking. Bob Perry, a taxidermist, and serious deer hunter, filling in for Marty Harrington at Marty’s Sports, Bennington, Vermont, said, “I’d say it’s on right now. We’re at the tail end (of the rut peak).”
Likewise, John Havlick reported a lot of chasing in the southern Adirondacks.
Daytime Movement: Most of the daytime movement being seen now involves bucks chasing does. The amount of hunters in the woods and fields tends to limit most other deer movement to nighttime. Get into the north woods of Maine, New Hampshire, northern Vermont, and the Adirondacks of northern New York and you probably will find that a good percentage of deer are moving during the day. But, of course, since deer are not as numerous in these areas, you might not notice.
Estrous Signs: Does are in estrus all over the Northeast Region, but in varying numbers.
X Factor: Deer should still be breeding. This should continue to a small extent right into a secondary rut peak that will be a little less than a month after the primary rut peak. So if you know when the first rut peak happened, you know about when a second rut peak will happen. Does involved in this second rut either were not bred the first time around, or they are yearling does that had not reached sufficient weight for the first rut peak.
Robert Rogan, in Connecticut, had a nice experience November 23 when a big 10-point was apparently cruising for does. The buck got close enough to be seen, but not for a shot. “He got to about 40 yards, checked the does, turned around and kept looking,” Rogan said. “I was shaking like a leaf when he walked off.”
Judging by recent reports, it appears that the rut is peaking, or the peak is winding down, across the northern and central parts of the region. To the south, there have been reports that the rut peak is finished. Delaware Outdoors reported that the rut peaked in their area of central Delaware around November 4 to 5, and now there is very little activity.
Here in northwest Pennsylvania, the peak of the rut passed with less notice than usual. Some breeding is still going on. Hunters should still include estrous-type scents in their hunting strategy.