What deer activity are you seeing?
Solid overall movement is still taking place throughout the Midwest. But warmer weather — combined with transitioning food sources — could make the weekend difficult for deer hunters. Most of the region — with the exception of the extreme northern Midwest — is predicted to see a significant increase in temperatures throughout the weekend and into early next week. This warmup will be accompanied by low pressure, and in many areas, rain. While temperature isn't everything, it plays a big part in daytime activity and will likely cause a reduction in movement.
In my home state, I've seen a big shift from green food sources to grains such as standing soybeans and corn. Beans are being cut rapidly right now, though, and there's still a lot of corn standing. That said, establishing feeding patterns could be challenging.
Rubbing and scraping has gradually improved over the past couple weeks. That trend continues. Young bucks are starting to move more, and light sparring continues to ramp up as well. However, mature bucks are still moving mostly during the first and last few minutes of the day. Between the two, evenings are still producing the best action.
I talked with my friend and diehard deer hunter Steve Gullickson in central Wisconsin. He reported good daylight activity with lots of scraping taking place. Gullickson also said that older bucks are still moving at night, but mature buck activity is creeping closer to daylight with a few bucks moving during legal shooting hours. On the other hand, young bucks are becoming very visible and covering more ground while harassing does. Finally, the increase in temperature isn't forecasted to be as significant in Wisconsin, so decent action could continue this weekend.
Haeden Henderson with Tamarack Outfitters in southwestern Kansas reported seeing a lot of new rubs and scrapes this week, and new bucks are turning up regularly. Movement is still anchored in bed-to-feed patterns, with some mature bucks moving during daylight. The hot food sources right now are alfalfa and winter wheat with milo also seeing some attention (where it's still standing).
For most of the Midwestern region, the increase in temperature will provide less than ideal hunting conditions for the coming weekend. Even if mild weather is expected to continue in your area, low pressure and changing food sources warrant a cautious approach. This can be a good time to sit an observation stand or secondary stand location. If you find a mature buck on a new daylight pattern, give it a shot. But if older bucks are still moving at night, play it safe instead. We're only a couple weeks out from things getting really good. Don't show your hand now.
Good luck out there and stay safe.
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