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.
The fat lady has sung in Montana and Idaho, but late seasons are still giving hunters a few shots at whitetails in designated areas from eastern Colorado to eastern Washington.
And the rut’s still on to some degree throughout the region.
Remember, the Nov. 20-21 peak of whitetail conceptions pegged by research in the northwestern states is only the top of the bell curve. As we move into the holidays, the season’s breedings are on the downhill slope, but there’s still action out there for bucks–and hunters.
In western Montana, Chuck Williams bagged his whitetail with a handgun before the season ended Nov. 27, but he’s still observing rutting behavior. “I had a nice white-racked 5×5 tending a doe in my yard last week,” he said.
With just days remaining in most of the eastern Washington late bowhunting seasons, Chris van Kempen tagged the nice wall-hanger above by taking advantage of the buck’s lingering desire to make sure every doe is bred and every competitor is challenged.
“I went out this afternoon got into my stand and did a few rattling sets,” he reported Friday. “On the third set, I was able to rattle this buck in to 30 yards! It was awesome I was only in the stand for about a hour and 20 minutes.”