Whitetail Hunting photo

I got behind on checking trail cameras last week. When I was able to do so on Friday, a change was evident—I finally got a branched-antler buck on camera during daylight, on November 5, shown here.

Thursday evening, during my weekly driving loop through the Allegheny National Forest with Mike Stimmell, we saw two sets of eyes. Backing up for a better view, one was revealed to be a doe. The other, which was quite close, was a very nice buck. It stood erect, head high. Another pair of eyes came into view from behind, moving constantly. Because it carried its head close to the ground, it took a while to see that it was another buck, not as large as the buck standing by the doe. It walked in an indirect manner, never getting too close to the other deer, as though it was wary of the bigger buck. While it was doing this, the doe laid down. We left them to carry on their affairs, not that they had paid us any attention.

Friday, on my way to a shooting range to sight-in squirrel rifles at about 1:30 p.m., a mature buck was following a doe in a field.

While hunting squirrels on Saturday I found a line of four fairly small scrapes, roughly 18 inches by 24 inches, in a distance of about 20 yards. A huge deer track was in the middle of one scrape—maybe the big 12-point I have been hunting. Then two more scrapes were along the same old woods lane within the next 60 yards. Also along this line, a freshly broken beech limb was on the ground far from the nearest beech brush. We can make a pretty good guess that the limb was carried in the buck’s antlers for a while.
I will guess that the peak of the rut is still a few days away, but certainly it is building toward that peak.

Marty Harrington at Marty’s Sports, Inc., in Vermont said bucks are “chasing pretty good” now. Last weekend was the state’s annual youth deer hunt. A biologist checking deer taken on that hunt said the rut is peaking now. Hunters are seeing a lot of aggressive rubs and scrapes. A couple of big bucks have been taken.
From Broken Arrow Archery Shop in Newark, in central Ohio, we hear that bucks are chasing does “big time” now. Last week was good but now the rut is in full swing. Some nice bucks have been taken. Younger bucks have been seen fighting. There is a lot of scraping. One hunter told of seeing a nice buck with brush hanging on the antlers.

The southern Adirondack region of New York might be a few days behind, we hear from Frank’s Gun & Tackle Shop, Inc. Some bucks have been seen chasing does. There are a lot of new rubs and scrapes. The rut peak is anticipated for the coming weekend, or next week.

Judging from our numerous newer comments it appears that things are pretty much normal. Altarip55 took a dandy northern Maine 11-point buck Saturday, and added that it is prime time.
Comments from both dwelling21 and rustyinmaine indicate that the peak of the rut is still a few days away in southern Maine. Buck 15, in central New Hampshire, wrote that trail cameras still are not catching mature bucks during daylight. The rut is heating up in west-central Vermont, commented Northeastsportsman. Activity is on the rise in central New York, Titan77 wrote. Commenting from northwest to central Pennsylvania, Jeramie Joy, Steelcityhunter, dirtnapoutdoors and elawrence all reported bucks on the move during daylight.

Of course not every hunter has been seeing this kind of activity, but rest assured, this is a great time to hunt deer.