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.



With only a few scattered late seasons still open across the West after this week, most hunters are closing the book on the 2011 whitetail opportunities.

I’m getting reports that whitetail bucks continue to have their noses alert, at least occasionally, for any unfinished business. But I’m seeing a lot of doe-fawn pairs working overtime to feed and rest unmolested by bucks or hunters.

It’s time for many of us to contemplate another great season, look for an opening on the wall for a trophy and dig out the big-game recipe books for a new way to savor the game in the freezer.

The rest of us will have to deal with the image in our memory–like the shot above captured by Montana wildlife photographer Jaime Johnson–of the big one that got away.