Overall Activity Status: I can’t remember a more up and down couple weeks of reports. Some friends report big bucks on the move and visible around their stands and caught on trail cameras (but no reports of big bucks riding in the bed of their trucks!). Others report checking trail cameras and seeing only does and hogs where two weeks ago nice bucks were visiting. Those same hunters report sitting in blinds to see nothing. The October shuffle? Maybe the best way to sum it up is decent action in some areas, dead in others.
Fighting: On October 11, I was scouting a river bottom from one mile away at daybreak. Through my 60X spotting scope, I watched two mature bucks lock horns and push and shove each other for perhaps two minutes. Several other deer stood on the sidelines watching. It was not a knock-down-drag-out, but certainly more than playful tickling of tines together. Perhaps setting boundaries of who rules the roost in that stretch of river corridor come November.
Rub Making: One of the fighters reported above walked ten yards after the fight and thrashed a small mesquite tree.
Scrape Making: Both of the fighters reported above took turns pawing the ground and working an overhanging limb at a scrape on that river bottom. First, the older of the two, a heavy-horned 10-point, worked the scrape. When he walked off, the other buck, a handsome typical 12-point, worked the same ground with his hooves and twisted his antlers and rubbed his forehead on the same overhanging limb.
Chasing: No chasing yet.
Daytime Movement: I watched those two big bucks fight, scrape and rub at 8 o’clock in the morning in broad daylight. Neither buck seemed in any hurry to get hidden in the cover. I’ve seen other bucks moving from sunset until dark in the evenings, last shooting light. Other hunters can’t find a single deer!
Estrous Signs: While the two big bucks were fighting, a doe was 20 yards away, watching everything. Before and after the fight, neither buck advanced on her. And she wandered off in a different direction from the boys. No estrous signals yet.
“X” Factor: I watched those two bucks, both of them sure-enough shooters, for almost 30 minutes. They were in a creek bottom no more than 250 yards from one of my tripod stands. Up until October 11, I had not sat the stand yet this season. Seeing those two old bucks active in daylight, and close to the stand, convinced me to make a move. So I made the long hike that afternoon to sit the stand by the river. I’ll let you know in my next post what happened.