As I last reported, colder temperatures are moving into most of the region, and signs of the pre-rut are becoming increasingly apparent, including scrapes reported in all six western whitetail reports and widespread reports of increased daytime activity.


Reports from Wyoming’s high country over the last two weeks have indicated pre-rutting behaviors are most advanced in the Cowboy State, and this week’s report confirms it. This horse of a buck fell to Mike Rinehart of Wind River Whitetails after he observed the buck ravage a sapling from afar before walking into range of Rinehart’s stand. Here’s his report: “Just wanted to show off the buck I harvested two nights ago. He is one of 16 bucks we have identified this fall on trail cameras. He scored 165 4/8 Boone and Crockett. He is my best buck lifetime and the biggest buck we have harvested on our ranches. This next picture will let you see how big this bucks body is. I weigh 235 pounds, by comparison.”

“We had a new buck show up on camera that has somewhere between 16 and 18 points on one side. Passed up a giant 4×4 before shooting my buck. That buck had a huge third main beam coming out of the left side of his head and ran the full length of his upper beam. Things are getting exciting.”

“On October 18, I found 3 scrapes on our up river ranch. Now I’m finding scrapes damn near under every tree. The bucks have abandoned their bachelor groups and are doing a lot of posturing with very little fighting. Two nights ago when I harvested my buck I was sitting in a blind that overlooks a lot of the river bottom. I watched several trees up and down the river starting shaking violently. One of those big boys doing the [rubbing] is now in the taxidermist. We will have hunters arriving the first of next week and will keep you posted as to their success.”

The West’s biggest whitetails are tucked away in the extreme southeast corner of Colorado, and Jack Cassidy of Cassidy Outfitters reports conditions on the ground are bizarre and totally out of synch with their normal seasonal progression and way out of balance with rest of the West.

Only 75% of the corn near the Arkansas River is harvested, but harvesters are still running around the clock. Typically, the corn would have come down a month ago or more, but the extreme flooding that befell Coloradans flooded access to fields and delayed harvest. Cassidy says most of the milo remains unharvested, and the weather is still unseasonably warm, reaching the 70s and 80s with regularity.

I’ll report next week on the progress of the early whitetail season in eastern Colorado, which wraps up Nov. 5. So far, Cassidy seems disgusted with the size of the bucks his first two clients harvested. One green scores almost 150, the other just over 155. His disappointment at these “little guys” speaks volumes about the expectations set by the huge bucks he and his clients are accustomed to.