Overall Activity Status: The weather is still the limiting factor on visible deer right now. Daily high temps across the region are still 80 degrees or higher. Mornings are cooler, so the first hour of the day and the last 30 minutes are still the best time to catch a good buck on his feet.
Fighting: I’ve had a few reports of bucks sparring, but none of those encounters sounded like vicious fights. Bucks are still establishing who is the boss in their respective home ranges.
Rub Making: This is a good time of year to find fresh rubs. I’ve seen several on mesquite trees and know I could wander and find many more, but I don’t like to stomp around more than necessary in the river corridor where I hunt. There’s a fine line between looking for fresh sign and new places to hang a stand and staying away from prime spots so you don’t educate the very bucks making that sign.
Scrape Making: I have not seen a single scrape and none of my friends have reported any. This goes back mostly to smart hunters not wanting to wander through prime areas. The scrapes are likely starting to show up, but the vegetation is tall in many areas and most hunters don’t like to leave extra scent unless deemed necessary.
Chasing: None reported.
Daytime Movement: The hot weather still has the older bucks moving after hours. Does and small bucks are visible that first and last hour, but the older bucks are still acting like vampires. If not for infrared trail cameras, you could barely convince me those older bucks even existed. But they do. The cameras show them active after dark.
Estrous Sign: None reported.
X Factor: The old 10-point mule deer in the accompanying photo is the same one featured in a late September Rut Report. Now he is hard-horned and has been for about 10 days. Like the whitetails I’ve observed and seen on trail cameras, this big mule deer is still moving mostly after dark. I got his picture a couple of times in the last 30 minutes after sunset, so there is a small window of opportunity when he is vulnerable in the late afternoon. If I get a strong south wind this week, I’ll sit in a ground blind I’ve had in position for a month and hope he strolls by before shooting light is gone.