Overall Activity Status: Deer activity certainly has picked up over the past few days. This may be due to a combination of cooler weather, more does coming into heat, and the moon phase.
Fighting: Finally I have gotten a report of bucks fighting, although we were quite certain even before that they were fighting. A hunter in southwest Pennsylvania reported watching two bucks going at it. Neither were large. They were pretty evenly matched, the hunter said.
One of the more humorous reports came from the western tier of Pennsylvania, where Larry F. Seneta had his life-size archery deer target attacked viciously by a buck. The attack was so vicious that the buck replica (what’s left of it is shown above) was torn to pieces.
Rub & Scrape Making: Both ribs and scrapes are being made at a faster pace now. This probably will continue.
Chasing: Bucks have been chasing does for at several days, and I received a belated report about a buck taken in the latter half of October by Chad Foster in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Foster’s buck, the 8-point with a 19-3/4-inch spread shown below, was chasing a doe.
Daytime Movement: Daytime movements are still relatively infrequent. Very likely the main reason for this is the abundance of mast over much of our region. Deer do not have to travel much to find adequate food.
Estrous Signs: Bucks are hanging very close to the does now.
X Factor: It is getting down to the nitty-gritty now. While I would not call this a rut peak, if it stays this way for long there will not be enough non-bred does left to have a peak. I am wondering if what we will get this year is a long, drawn-out semi-peak instead of three or four days of deer orgy.
Bottom line: Spend every bit as much time hunting as possible for the next couple weeks…as if any of us need an excuse for that.