Overall Activity Status: Activity had been painfully slow, as reported in my last post, but I’ve seen an uptick on the last couple outings. Matt Knox, Virginia’s deer project leader, says Old Dominion bowhunters are having a good season thus far (it just opened last weekend), and, despite the opening day kill being down somewhat, the overall take is up. “Our youth season, which was the last week in September, was also excellent this year,” Knox says. “I expect the total kill to surpass 2,000. The weather hasn’t been cold, but it’s been nice and seasonal.”
Fighting: Sparring is becoming more frequent. On Wednesday evening, I made a light rattling sequence a half hour before dark and had a young 8-pointer respond almost immediately. That said, I saw a bachelor group of bucks the evening before. It’s transition time, and, given the right situation, a good time to do some rattling.
Rub making: Rub making is pretty heavy right now. I found the sign-post rub shown here last weekend, and most of my Mid-South contacts are seeing quite a few rubs in the woods.
Scrape making: Jimbo Robinson, my Tennessee contact, says he’s just now seeing a few small scrapes. I’ve been seeing pretty steady scraping activity for two weeks now. The edges of the beanfield I’ve been hunting–where I rattled in that small buck–are littered with scrapes of all sizes.
Chasing: Interestingly, I’ve heard several different reports of young bucks chasing does in the past couple of weeks. Most of these reports have been from Kentucky, but Jimbo Robinson says on at least three recent occasions, he and his buddies have seen spikes and forkhorns chasing does down in Tennessee.
Daytime movement: Though movement has been on the upswing the past couple days for me personally, it’s still seasonal for this time of year. Most of the acorns have hit the ground already, but there are quite a few of them out there. Knox and Robinson both say the mast crop is heavy in their areas. That alone will keep deer in the timber and less visible for several days to come.
Estrous signs: Aside from those scattered reports of young bucks chasing does, I haven’t seen or heard of anything yet. Fawns are still traveling with adult does.
X Factor: This recent cold snap has made for pleasant hunting, despite relatively slow deer activity. A warm-up is forecast for next week, but at this time of year, another cold front won’t be far behind it. Deer activity tends to spike, at least temporarily, any time the average daytime temperature drops 10 degrees or more. Given the time of year, I expect to see some pronounced daylight pre-rut activity following the next strong cold front.