Bucks Are Ready, Willing, and Able. Does, Not so Much

Overall Activity Status: Unseasonably warm temperatures across much of the Northeast Region slowed deer activity, but temperatures were not terribly high so some deer have been out and about, particularly when the sun is not high in the sky.

Fighting: Still only one reported fight among adult bucks, but no doubt a lot of this is happening, and will continue to happen for a while.

From S&S Taxidermy, at Springville, NY, the western part of the state, Brian Berton said hunters have been seeing bucks sparring, but no all out fighting.

Rub Making: Bucks have been rubbing for a few weeks now, but to varying degrees. Here in my home area, the Allegheny National Forest, I have not been finding rubs, but other hunters have been seeing some.

Scrape Making: Activity at scrapes is starting to become more intense, a good sign that the bucks are getting anxious. However, there is variation depending on where you are located.

Marty Harrington, at Marty's Sports in Vermont, said that they are seeing only a few rubs and no scrapes. But a customer from Massachusetts said in his area there are numerous rubs and scrapes. In Harrington's part of Vermont there are not many acorns, whereas in Massachusetts acorns are plentiful. Whether that has anything to do with rubbing and scraping is worth consideration.

Brian Berton said he has not seen any rubs in western New York.

Chasing: No reports yet of bucks chasing does.

Daytime Movement: This varies quite a bit from one area to another, but mainly warm weather has been determining daytime movement, or rather the lack of it.

Brian Berton said that his trail cams show that the bucks have been moving between 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m.

Marty Harrington said that warm weather has been affecting their deer. Their bowhunting season opened last weekend and hunters have been seeing only small bucks.

Estrous Signs: It is still too soon for does to come into heat, although it could happen.

X Factor: Deer movements still relate mainly to feeding. However, fall is in the air. We should not give deer too much credit for thoughts; still, the bucks are moving more and they are ready and anxious for the first doe to come into heat. Be sure to carry your best grunt tube while hunting. Using estrous scents would not be a bad idea, though it might be best not to put too much effort into this yet.

My best results using grunt tubes has been when trying to coax deer that I can see to move into shooting range. However, an occasional double grunt, "rrrrrrr......rrrrrr" has sometimes been followed by a buck apparently looking for the source of the grunts. If nothing else, it gives you something to do while sitting in a tree stand.

With nothing exciting in the way of deer photos, I want to take this opportunity to show you something unusual one of my trail cameras captured: a gray fox climbing a vertical tree trunk.