Northeast Rut Reporter Mike Bleech has been hunting whitetails in his native Pennsylvania and throughout the Northeast for more than four decades. A Vietnam veteran and full-time freelance outdoor writer, Bleech has had more than 5000 of his articles published. States covered: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA OH, MD, DE.
Nov. 17: Reports from successful buck hunters have slowed. This does not necessarily mean that there has been any let-off in rut activity, though. Some states are in gaps between deer hunting seasons. Elsewhere, long bowhunting seasons are taking a toll on hunting enthusiasm among the less devoted hunters.
This is a time to get very serious. The November full moon is this coming Sunday. Look for more daytime rutting activity from Thursday through the following Wednesday. It may not be as intense as it would have been if the full moon had occurred earlier simply because more of the does have already been bred than would have been the case if the full moon had been earlier. Still, chances are good that these will be among the best buck hunting days of the year.
If you will be hunting any of the hilly and mountainous parts of the New England States, New York, even in southeast Ohio, long ridge tops should be good places to find bucks. Only speculating of course, but it seems likely that they travel ridges to get a better scenting range in their search for breeding does.
Take all of your rut hunting tools along on hunts now.
Rattling antlers, and other devices that simulate rattling, can be useful. Do not make it sound like a buck fight, though. Just tickle the tips of the antlers together. Both bucks and does will approach out of curiosity. This is a good time to use smaller rattling devices. Big sets of antlers simply are not necessary. Eliminating weight and bulk is always beneficial. I am of the opinion that grunt tubes can be effective any time during deer hunting seasons. Grunt tubes seem to be most effective in bringing deer that you see closer. A couple of monotone grunts will accomplish this. More aggressive grunting can also work. Try a doe bleat followed by a couple of grunts.
Using scents is more uncertain. A scent trail made by using a drag may bring bucks to your stand. A small mock scrape sweetened with scent may get a deer to stop in a shooting lane.