Landers: Soft Rubs and Butting Heads

Oct. 14: Going into the second week of October, whitetails are generally consumed with eating and relaxing in much of the Northwest. That's likely to change Saturday, in Eastern Washington for sure, since it's the opening day for modern rifle deer hunting. Wyoming's season already opened, some of Idaho's deer hunts started Oct. 10 but most hunters will pursue elk first and turn attention to whitetails in November when the rut is kicking into another gear. Montana's rifle season is starts the third weekend in October.

Deer movements are fairly normal in Northwestern Montana, say's Kalispell hunter Ronny Nail, who's already tagged an archery whitetail do during the September season.

Small bucks have been observed butting heads and doing some light pushing and shoving in northwestern Montana, northern Idaho and in eastern Washington, according to several reports, including Nail and Hal Meenach in Eastern Washington.

Rubs don't look serious yet. Mostly the soft-core remnants of antler polishing.

Nobody has reported serious scrape-making in Montana or Idaho, a few have been reported in central Washington.

Nobody has reported any serious chasing, except some young bucks possibly getting some early action.

Nail has been seeing "good movement from daylight until around 9 a.m. and again from around 4 p.m. until dark, and that's almost exactly what I've been seeing--from does at least--in eastern Washington.

"Nothing much but does and fawns this last couple a weeks," says Kevin Scheib in Colville, Wash. "I set up two more cams in my whitetail area now that my elk excursion is over. Their summer pattern has broke now, dominance begins!"