What deer activity are you seeing?
The rut is over. The post rut is here. It's time to focus on late-season bed-to-feed patterns. All said, there are a couple areas with minimal rut activity, though.
In Michigan, rutting behavior is non-existent in recent days. However, a few bucks are still checking scrapes, but mostly after dark. Areas with good food sources, or those that experienced light hunting pressure during the firearm season, are seeing much better daylight activity. Food sources are scattered right now. Some deer prefer cut corn or standing beans, while others are targeting alfalfa and wheat. Sit an observation stand and determine what food source is getting the most attention where you're hunting. Then move in.
I talked to my friend Steve Gullickson in Wisconsin. There, a hefty blanket of snow recently covered much of the state. Gullickson said some areas in northern Wisconsin received a foot or more of snow and deer are yarding up as a result.
Deer movement is centered on bed-to-feed patterns. Corn and beans are the primary attractants. Gullickson noted that there's still a lot of corn standing throughout the state and that he's seen a large number of deer packed into these areas the past few day. With mild temperatures forecasted for the weekend, it's unlikely that daytime movement will be great, but more favorable late-season conditions are on the horizon.
Cole Winther of Southwestern Iowa Outfitters reported fair overall deer activity recently. He mentioned seeing a few bucks still hanging with does the past couple days. Winther also noted that he's observed more deer moving to grain food sources despite mild temperatures, but feeding preferences are still largely scattered.
Western Kansas is one of the only areas in the Midwest where notable rutting action is still taking place. My buddy Haeden Henderson with Tamarack Outfitters said there are a few bucks still locked down with does. Light cruising is still happening. Henderson also mentioned that bucks he's observed in the past few days have still shown a fair amount of aggression towards each other. Despite this late-rut activity, most deer movement centers around bed-to-feed patterns. Wheat and cut milo are the primary food sources.
The mild temperatures will continue through the weekend. That said, a cold front is forecasted to sweep across the region early next week. The Plains States should see the mercury drop Sunday night, while the Heartland and Great Lakes regions won't cool off for a few days. If you're still trying to fill a tag, bundle up and take advantage of this front. Much of the region will see highs in the teens (and even the single digits) which will force deer to feed and move earlier in the afternoon. This front should coincide with the kickoff of secondary rut activity, making it a great opportunity for hunters to find success.
Region as a Whole
Rutting activity and overall deer movement have slowed considerably over the past week throughout the Midwestern region. In most areas, temperatures have been fairly mild for this time of year. This has had deer feeding on multiple food sources and moving more at night. Right now, the best activity is taking place late in the day. But the second rut is likely only a few days out.
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