Rut Ebbs, but Deer Still Moving

Overall Activity Status: Deer activity across much of the Northeast Region has dropped off considerably. One big reason is that there are fewer deer hunters afield. The buck above is the first one to appear on my trail camera in McKean County, Pennsylvania, in several days.

Fighting: No fighting has been reported.

Rub Making: In the Allegheny National Forest, which spans the border between Pennsylvania's northwest and north-central regions as defined by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, I found a couple of fresh rubs this past Saturday.

Commenting from the north-central region of Pennsylvania, steve182 saw fresh rubs and scrapes through last Wednesday.

Scrape Making: New scrapes were more common that new rubs Saturday on the ANF. This factor alone leads me to believe that the second rut peak is about to begin here. Frank's Gun & Tackle Shop, Inc. reported fresh scrapes and rubs south of their New York North Zone location at Gloversville.

Chasing: No chasing has been reported.

Daytime Movement: I saw no deer moving during the day, neither in the northeast part of the ANF last Friday nor in the northwest part on Saturday.

North-central Pennsylvania's steve182 wrote that he saw plenty of daytime deer activity last Wednesday. Fresh snow, which makes for good visibility, and numerous other hunters in the woods will have that effect. Hunting not far to the west, my own opposite observation likely was due to virtually no other hunters in the immediate area, and no snow on the ground. Seeing brown deer against the brown background is difficult.

Frank's Gun & Tackle Shop, Inc. reported yesterday that there has been good daytime deer activity over the past few days along the North Zone and South Zone border area of New York.

Old Trading Post in Hillsboro, Ohio, reported that deer are out more during the day now that fewer hunters are afield.

Rob Rogan has gotten only does during daylight on his trail cameras in Connecticut. While hunting in eastern New York, he saw a few young bucks from his stand during hunting hours.

Estrous Signs: No estrous signs have been reported.

X Factor: During our abbreviated Saturday morning hunt in the rain on the ANF, I managed to nudge one antlerless deer past my old hunting partner, Bill Anderson. He chose to let it pass since it was a young deer. In several days I have not been able to locate any of the numerous bucks that are known to use my hunting area.

Our lower number of comments recently is indicative of fewer deer hunters still afield. The second rut peak may be over in some places, and is either happening now or will be soon in other areas. The intensity of the second rut peak is largely determined by deer density. In places where there is a good buck-to-doe ratio, few does will come into estrus in December. In places with high deer density, the second peak can be very obvious. Adjust your hunting tactics accordingly. If no deer are moving during the day, you may have to go to the deer.