Overall Activity Status: The Eastern United States has been a turbulent place, weather wise, during the past week. Hurricane Sandy obviously had impacts across the East Coast, but the inland regions have had their share of weather, too. Blizzards are predicted for West Virginia as I type this. The week has been cold but windy in Kentucky, and with a bright full moon. Winds are dying down a bit in the morning, and deer activity has been good up until around 10 a.m. After that, it’s been slow. Young bucks are definitely on the prowl.
Fighting:** Fights are getting intense now. I made a hard rattling sequence the night before last and called up a buck of some sort. Unfortunately, rattling up a buck and killing it with a bow–while a fun way to hunt–is tough. Bucks attracted to rattling are on the lookout once they commit. This one never left the security of his thicket, and I never got a good look at him. Nonetheless, crashing antlers together will attract attention right now.
Rub making: Fresh rubs are everywhere throughout the region.
Scrape making: Scraping has really picked up. In fact, I’ve been moving most of my trail cameras from food plots to active scrapes, just to keep tabs on the bucks I have in my hunting area, such as the thick-bodied 2-year-old in the photo above.
Chasing: It’s happening. A little buck chased a doe past my stand at 9 a.m. yesterday.
Daytime movement: As mentioned, it’s been steady, although the windy weather has no doubt stifled the all-day movement to a degree. High winds make deer nervous, regardless of the rut. Mornings are more productive than evenings right now.
Estrous signs: I’m beginning to see a few lone fawns and nervous, solitary does. That’s a sure estrous sign. A few does should be coming into heat any day now at this latitude. Expect things to be a little later in southern Tennessee.
X Factor: Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’re getting a major weather improvement for a while. Though these hard north winds are supposed to subside in my area by Halloween, the forecast is for things to warm up, and for winds to temporarily swap out of the east. Most hunters around here, myself included, don’t have many stands set for east winds, so I’ll be opting for a climbing stand until things get back to normal.
Farther east, blizzards won’t help the immediate hunting, but things could get interesting in the aftermath once the weather stabilizes. The forecast is for chilly weather in both Virginia and West Virginia.
Next week is typically my favorite week of the year to bowhunt. Although the forecast is for warm weather, it won’t be unbearably hot. Bucks should still be cruising like crazy. Pack a lunch, hunt a spot where you see a lot of does, whether near a food source or bedding area, and plan on sitting all day. I do.