Smaller Bucks Active; Rubbing and Sparring on the Rise

Overall Activity Status: The full moon this past weekend was to blame for slow action, according to my contacts. Most reported the usual: does and small bucks active during the last 30 minutes of the day; no sightings of big bucks. Ronnie Parsons in the Texas Hill Country reported very little activity. Shawn Hoover and his son Dylan, hunting the youth season in Oklahoma, reported seeing only a few does, and those were not moving until after sunset near agriculture. Whit Peterman, hunting his family's place in Bosque County, reported slow hunting. Rusty Sims, hunting the Texas Panhandle, passed up a young 130-class buck in the evening. The following evening, he got a shot at a 140-inch 10-point buck. He is the only one I talked to that saw good bucks this weekend.

Fighting: We're getting a few pictures of bucks sparring on trail cameras. Expect that to go up a notch as we transition from October to November. Older bucks get less tolerant of small bucks in their space the closer we get to the rut.

Rub Making: I watched a dink 4-pointer shred a mesquite tree. It only took him about five minutes to turn the weed into sawdust. And it reminded me that small bucks can make impressive rubs. Never assume a good-sized rub was made by a huge buck; sometimes they're not.

Scrape Making: No one I know has seen a fresh scrape. That should change any day as we get closer to November.

Chasing: It wasn't really chasing, but more like following. I watched that same small 4-pointer that made the rub following a couple of does around in a zig-zag pattern. The does seemed annoyed by the young buck.

Daytime Movement: The full moon has certainly made those already nocturnal bucks favor the night hours even more. When I exited my blind on Friday the 18th, the moon in the sky was like a blinding spotlight. You have to figure the deer are very comfortable moving and feeding under that bright light. Give things another week, and if we get cold weather around Halloween, I'm betting the buck hunting at the end of the month will be real good.

Estrous Sign: None seen yet.

X factor: Texas' general gun season opens November 2. Now is the time to double-check corn feeders, trim shooting lanes, spray wasp nests in tower blinds, and check trail cameras. The best prepared hunters are usually the most successful ones, too.