Photo by Weather Underground: Temperatures across the Northeast are dropping right in line with opening days in Maryland and New Jersey. This heat map shows expected temps at 5 a.m. Saturday.

Overall Activity Status: It looks like Mother Nature just might cooperate. Mid-week thunderstorms across much of the region have cooled things off, and temperatures look like they’ll continue to drop right into Maryland’s opening day, on Friday, and New Jersey’s opener, on Saturday. The wind could be squirrelly this weekend, though, with it blowing out of the south and southeast along the coast. But if you have a stand set for those conditions, now could be the time to smoke a nice summer buck.

Fighting: Bucks are still in large bachelor groups, but as the velvet comes off expect to see solo hard-horns in the next few weeks.

Rub Making: Nothing yet, but we should start to see increased activity soon. All the bucks I’m picking up in New York are in velvet. Friends in New Jersey are seeing mostly velvet, and guys in Maryland and Delaware tell me it’s about 50/50 fuzz to hard horns.

Scraping: No reports.

Chasing: Nothing yet.

Estrous Signs: Nothing to report. About half the fawns I’m picking up on cameras in western New York still have spots, so it’ll be awhile before the big girls want to Netflix and chill.

X-Factor: This weekend it’s all about temperature, wind, and early food sources, such as soon-to-be yellow soybeans. By all reports, deer are hitting beans hard this week, so if you have a stand that won’t be affected by a possibly screwy wind, hunt it early and late. Even with the moderate cool off, it’s still hot out there, so expect to see movement right on the periphery of shooting light. Though I don’t normally hunt mornings until the rut, with this heat wave I’d certainly consider a.m. sits in stands with perfect wind. What happened to the September of bucks walking field edges at 4 p.m.?