What deer activity are you seeing?
As we usher in the month of November, the whitetail rut is primed to burst into action for much of the Midwest. Reports are flowing in throughout the region about increased buck movement and solid daylight deer activity. All aspects of rut behavior and sign have increased over the past week. But the best is yet to come.
In my home state of Michigan, young bucks are on the move and working themselves into a frenzy. They're bumping and chasing does constantly. This action is primarily taking place around food sources where does are still feeding in groups. Older-age-class bucks are starting to become more active with some movement happening during daylight hours. This should steadily increase over the next week or two. The hot food sources right now are corn, beans and wheat.
Steve Gullickson of Central Wisconsin reported a big increase in action over the past week, too. Scraping activity is at or near its peaks right now. Mature bucks are moving in daylight more each day and are starting to pay the does some attention. As expected, younger bucks are harassing and chasing does consistently, but there are no reports of any hard chasing or breeding taking pace. Steve also noted that calls have started to become more and more effective in recent days. Deer activity as a whole has been very good in Wisconsin, thanks in part to below-average temperatures that are forecast to continue.
Melvin Oldaker of Oldaker Outfitting in northwestern Nebraska reported solid overall deer movement. He also said fighting has become much more frequent and intense in the past week. Some chasing is starting to take place as well.
Mike Stroff of Savage Outdoors TV reports bucks are starting to move a lot more during daylight in his area. Over the past week or so, scraping has really ramped up. He also noted that 2- and 3-year-old bucks are starting to bump and chase does.
Haeden Henderson with Tamarack Outfitters reported a major uptick in activity this week. He said it's common to see an increase in buck movement around Halloween, but the latest cold flipped the switch. Mature bucks are moving in daylight more and are beginning to pay the does some attention. In fact, on the morning of October 30, he spotted a mature buck already pinned down with a doe. This is sure sign that a handful of does have already entered estrus.
Region as a Whole
For nearly all of the Midwest, peak breeding is about two weeks out. That said, between now and then is the time we wait for all year. The action is just starting to heat up. It's time to get in a stand any chance you can. Hunt smart. Hunt safe. And good luck.
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