Deer Activity Up a Notch

Overall Activity Status: I'm getting a lot of pictures of bucks and does on my trail cameras set near corn feeders, windmills and feed troughs, but 90 percent of the photographs are after shooting hours. Without the spying ability of high-tech cameras, you would barely know the deer existed this time of year. We need cooler weather to provoke deer to move earlier. Until temperatures cool off significantly, expect that after-dark pattern to continue.

Fighting: No fighting yet, although you can see mature bucks posturing a little around corn feeders. While the bucks are still very much in their summer bachelor groups, the older bucks like to establish their rank in the herd early.

Rub Making: I saw my first rub this week. It was on a small mesquite as big around as my thumb. Friends report a few bucks out of velvet this week in the northern Texas Panhandle, although the bucks I'm seeing on trail cameras are still wearing full fuzz.

Scrape Making: No scrapes seen yet.

Chasing: No chasing; does and bucks still minding their own business.

Daytime Movement: Another hot week across the region with high temperatures topping 90 degrees. It has now been one month since it has rained a drop at my house. The grass and vegetation has really dried out in the last 30 days, and the ground is dusty and parched. Hot weather patterns have deer moving mostly after dark and a little bit during first and last half hour of daylight.

Estrous Signs: None.

X Factor: In Texas, wild hogs are intertwined with deer hunting. Y ou can bet the keen snout of a wandering wild pig will any corn you put out as bait. Deer do not like sharing common ground with stinky, ill-tempered hogs, so if you want to keep deer interested in your bait station, trap or kill the invading hogs. That's not always easy, considering hogs are mostly nocturnal.

The trail camera picture here shows a big wild boar covered in mud from a nearby windmill pond. The black spot on his right cheek and another on his body on the opposite side make him easy to recognize. I would estimate his live weight at 300 pounds plus. He's been visiting one of my feed troughs for about a week, but always in the dark with a herd of sows and piglets. I've only seen this big boar once in daylight in three years of catching his image on trail cameras. Maybe this is the year he slips up and makes a visit in daylight. If you kill a big, old vampire boar like this in daylight hours, it's a trophy to be celebrated just as much as a big buck. Old boar hogs make few mistakes in daylight, and their sense of smell is keener than a deer's. I'm hoping by the end of this deer season, most likely when the temperatures have cooled noticeably, I can finally put an arrow through this monster and set his bleached skull with pearly white tusks on my bookshelf.