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.
Some mild changes in whitetail activity are easing along in the West as abnormally warm temperatures seem to finally be subsiding for the season– although the weatherman and I have said that three times in the past month.
Early archery deer and elk seasons are winding down in most states. Muzzleloader hunters ended their early whitetail season on Sunday in Washington.
Whitetails and hunters, too, generally have a reprieve before rifle seasons begin. Time to regroup, and reconnoiter.
Here’s a general rundown of activity as observed in eastern Washington by whitetail bowhunting fanatic Brandon Enevold.
Overall Activity Status: Summer feeding and bedding patterns seem to be holding, but cool weather has picked up the deer activity. (Incidentally, I’ve been observing plenty of bull elk rutting activity from my deer stands. I’ve had several big bulls bugling nearby, and nearly managed to harvest a nice six point bull from one of my treestands just before the Washington archery elk season closed.)
Fighting: Only light whitetail sparring observed so far.
Rub making: Only a few small rubs, likely the result of velvet removal rather than rutting activity.
Scrape making: None observed so far.
Chasing: None observed so far.
Daytime movement:** On the increase with cooling temperatures.
Estrous signs: None observed so far.
X Factor: Hopefully the cooler weather will be accompanied by some rain showers, which will allow the food plots to green up in time for the October Washington rifle opener!
General rifle deer season openers:**
— Washington, Oct. 15.
— Oregon, Oct. 1 or 22
— Idaho, Oct. 10
— Montana, Oct. 22
— Wyoming, Oct. 1 or 15
— Colorado, Oct. 22