What deer activity are you seeing?
Across the Midwest, most breeding has already occurred. However, mature bucks are still on the search for remaining hot does. Parts of the region are still experiencing lock-down, while others face the challenge of increased hunting pressure and recent opening of firearms seasons. Activity isn't what it was last week, but there is still plenty of good deer hunting happening.
I spoke with Mike Stroff of Savage Outdoors. He is currently hunting in South Dakota where the action has been hottest. Mike said daylight movement has been very good and bucks are moving at all times of the day. Cruising and chasing are happening with bucks of all ages and mature buck activity is still good. Lock-down is yet to happen in South Dakota, currently making it one of the best areas in the country. Current activity is happening largely around food sources, with alfalfa being the primary draw.
I also talked to Cole Winther with Southwestern Iowa Outfitters. He said that movement has still been solid and mature bucks are actively seeking out the last estrus does. Daylight activity remains good with overall deer movement centered on food sources such as corn, beans and wheat.
Haeden Henderson of Tamarack Outfitters reported a huge decline in deer activity in recent days. That's likely the cause of breeding activity and high temperatures. Young bucks and fawns have been the only deer consistently moving. However, a cold front is approaching, and bucks are sure to break away from does soon. The action should get much better as we move closer to the weekend. From Thursday on, highs throughout Kansas are forecasted to return to the 40s and 50s, as opposed to the 70s which they're currently experiencing.
Firearm season kicked off last Friday here in Michigan. The effects of hunting pressure are already being seen. Daylight movement has declined, but there are still bucks on the move. They're searching for one last doe to breed.
Evening movement has been best, with most activity taking place near food sources. Cut corn and wheat are the preferred foods right now. But a lot of corn is still standing. Freshly cut cornfields are hot, especially late in the season.
Region as a Whole
Overall, the best rut action of the season is behind us in the Midwest. But there are still pockets where the activity is cranking. Hunting past peak breeding can be challenging, but it is also one of the best times to kill an old, dominate buck that's still searching for does to breed.
For does, high-calorie food sources are the main attraction right now. Focus on these areas (as well as doe bedding areas near food sources). Things might slow down a bit, but the rut isn't over just yet. Good luck out there and stay safe.
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