Deer Activity Slows, But Rubs and Scrapes Reappear

Monday was opening day of the Pennsylvania firearms deer season. Opening day of deer hunting culture goes back to the mid-20th century, when the Big Woods of north-central Pennsylvania was the destination of choice for deer hunters from all over the region. This opening day did not disappoint. My old hunting pal, Bill Anderson, and I went in search of the nice 10-point shown in my previous post.

While at my morning stand, behind a fallen tree, I noticed several new rubs. I do not recall anyone mentioning rubs for the past week or two. In the previous post I noted that I'd found a fresh scrape; that was only about five yards from my stand.

Just before noon I talked with another hunter who was walking out of the woods for his camp lunch. He said he saw more scrapes and rubs, all fresh. Those bucks sure do not think the rut has finished.

The highlight of our day was cooking bratwurst on sticks over a wood fire--so good. (Pardon me for straying from our Rut Reporters topic. For me, antlers and venison are objectives secondary to having an enjoyable adventure with good company.) While cooking our bratwurst, Anderson said he had seen some fresh scrapes. After lunch I made a wide loop trying to move deer toward my friend. Along that loop I found more fresh scrapes, but saw no deer. Anderson saw two deer, a yearling and an unknown deer that behaved like an older buck. Who knows?

Over the first three days of the rifle season in that area, hunters have seen very few bucks. On a trail cam there I haven't seen a single deer of either sex since Saturday night. At my friend's bird feeders, where deer usually come by early evening, they have been absent. I think everything will change for the better around the full moon.

From Broken Arrow Archery Shop in central Ohio we hear that there is not much daytime deer activity, although some bucks have been seen in the company of does. Hunters have been finding fresh scrapes and a few fresh rubs.

S&S Taxidermy Archery in western New York reports hunters seeing some bucks in the company of does, but only light daytime deer activity. Fresh scrapes and some fresh rubs have been seen lately.

Martel's Bait & Sport in New Hampshire reports that their rut peaked about last Saturday. Things have been quiet since then. Their deer kill is down about 30 percent. Some nice racks have been collected, but those bucks had relatively small bodies. The mast crop last fall was not as good as it is this fall.

Steve Russ at Delaware Outdoors in Smyrna, Delaware, said there is not much daytime deer activity in his area. Bucks have been opening old scrapes and making fresh scrapes. The second rut peak is expected in about a week. Some of his customers have been hunting nearby in Maryland. Bucks have been seen fighting there and some good bucks have been taken.