Rut Reporter Rich Landers, a native Montanan and life-long hunter, is the outdoors editor for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane. He has written several books about the western outdoors and has hunted whitetails all his life. States covered: WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO.
Nov. 16: Eastern Washington’s late rifle season for whitetail bucks will end Friday as rut activity swells throughout the region. God bless employers who don’t care that you called in sick this week.
In Wyoming, the recent cold snap has helped accelerate buck activity and deliver successful hunts, including the one pictured above, to clients of G-Man Outdoor Adventures.
Big bucks suddenly seemed to be everywhere, said guide John Geiman.
“We watched as one buck made three scrapes along the hillside in front of us,” he said. “The buck we harvested (above) was chasing a doe.”
Geiman was seeing a lot of early morning movement with bucks making scrapes — and checking them.
Does were kicking at fawns. One doe even ran off a fawn, he said.
Eastern Washington: “Overall buck activity has really begun to pick up, with new bucks showing up on all my trail cameras on a regular basis,” said Brandon Enevold, who’s focusing on northeast Washington. Fresh rubs and scrapes are evident, too.
“Most of them are just passing through, either chasing directly behind a doe or with their noses to the ground trying to catch up to one. Most of the larger bucks are still primarily moving after dark, with the smaller bucks showing up during daylight.”
X Factor: Top priority of all bucks has shifted from feeding to breeding, Enevold confirms.
“Archery season can’t get here soon enough!”