Landers: Shedding Summer

Rut Reporter Rich Landers, a native Montanan and life-long hunter, is the outdoors editor for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane. He has written several books about the western outdoors and has hunted whitetails all his life. States covered: WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO.

Sept. 1: Archery deer hunting opens today in Washington and some other western states, and many of the whitetail bucks are still beaming in full velvet splendor.

The late spring weather set farmers back about three weeks from the coast inland through Montana and Idaho. That means many farmers are still harvesting and hunters are second fiddle to getting in the crop.

A heat-wave that slowed deer movements-- and scouting -- the past week is subsiding just in time for this week's season openers. A front moving in from the Pacific is cooling the entire region. That should translate into more early morning and evening deer activity.

Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson (Zenfolio) snapped the photo of the whitetail buck pictured above just last week near Lincoln, Mont. Several of my contacts had been scouting bucks in full velvet up to the start of today's season opener.

So it's a soft, velvety start to the hunting season, and a lead-in to the rut that soon will be riveting our attention.

photo by: Jaimie Johnson/Zenfolio