Wicked cold has descended across the country, and Western whitetails are reacting accordingly by increasing their feeding and by ramping up breeding activity. Bucks are rutting hard throughout their timbered range, but exceptions seem to include whitetails on Washington’s Palouse, and low-elevation deer in and around Hells Canyon. I have friends with know-how in the field in both locations, and this is typical of these landscapes, where bucks tend to enter rut several days behind mountain whitetails. Still, there very well could be bucks chasing does and fighting foes in both locales as I write this. Weather conditions are set up to be as good as hunters have seen in many years in the West, perhaps especially for hunters in Northeast Washington.