Western Rut Heating Up

Finally, the rut is starting in earnest across the West. Scrapes are starting to appear all over the six western whitetail states, and bucks have been observed chasing does in Colorado and Montana. We're still a little early in most parts of the region for widespread rutting, but the deer have definitely gotten started.

Dale Denney of Bearpaw Outfitters is based out of Colville, Washington, but hunts several other Western states, including Montana. He offers this report: Bucks have started rutting pretty good in Central Montana. Just in the last two days, we have found three scrapes, we have seen one doe with bucks following her, and we videoed a crazy little forky yesterday morning rubbing on a small bush like it was a fierce opponent.

_It was as if he was performing for the camera. Yesterday we killed a nice 4x4 whitetail that had a slightly swollen neck and another 4x4 whitetail with a muzzy that wasn't swollen yet. This morning we saw a big 5x6 whitetail, probably in the 150s, that we had not seen before. Rut is kicking in good and bucks are looking for does. We also killed a nice mule deer about an hour ago that was hot on a doe.
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The previous report detailed a 180-class southeast Colorado whitetail taken last week. Over the last several days, I've seen several more 170-class animals shot from the agricultural fields along the Arkansas River, including Wisconsinite Karin Benson's beautiful brute above, taken at Cassidy Outfitters. I don't have an exact score on Benson's deer, but it green scored over 170.

Here in Washington State, friends and contacts report seeing multiple scrapes in the Blue Mountains, and in the woods around Colville and Newport in the northeast corner. A noted wildlife photographer from Lincoln, Montana, teased me with photos of fighting trophy bucks from earlier this week, not allowing me to use them except for the useful purpose of telling you that I saw very clearly that two 140- to 160-class bucks were going at it in Montana.