Buck sign is on the rise, and days are numbered for bed-to-feed patterns
The pre-rut is upon us, and signs of rut life are appearing throughout parts of the Midwest. Hutch-On-Hunting's Bruce Hutcheon spends a good bit of time in the northwestern corner of the region, where he says football-sized scrapes are appearing everywhere. Rubs are also popping up. Still, while younger deer are getting friskier, mature bucks are sticking to cover. Hutcheon is looking for a cold front to kick off quality daylight movement.
Nine Finger Chronicles podcast host Dan Johnson has been hunting South Dakota, and things haven't been great there. Morning movement seems to be best, he said. Whitetails don't get on their feet until 45 minutes to an hour before shooting light ends. So, you must be in the right spot. Whitetails seem to be on green food sources and have not made the transition to corn quite yet. As far as mature bucks are concerned, the action is at last light. They aren't moving much until almost dark. I have seen some young bucks chase does, though.
Realtree editor Brian Lovett is in Wisconsin, and things are picking up there as well. From what I'm hearing, guys are seeing more bucks on camera, but it's still mainly at night, at least for mature deer, he said. We're really warm this weekend, but a front comes in Monday, and everyone agrees that should get some deer on their feet. It's a great acorn crop in Wisconsin, so a lot of deer are sticking to the timber.
Randy Birdsong recently shot a great buck in Kansas. There, deer are really starting to hit scrapes. Birdsong is now in Missouri, and he says deer are on the fringe of starting to cruise some there.
Also in Missouri, The Outdoor Group's Larry McCoy is seeing increased scraping. Bucks are starting to get less tolerant of one another, he said. Seeing younger bucks start to bump does around. Most of the mature deer I have seen have been working scrapes or near a water source. I am sure the drought in the Midwest has water sources sparser. So, in my opinion, it would be a good place to concentrate on catching that buck on his feet in the daylight.
Finally, Realtree contributor Tyler Ridenour is in Michigan. Interestingly, while much of the region is seeing a bumper crop of acorns this year, that isn't true in the Wolverine State. Acorns — where they can be found (it's a very limited crop this year) — and cut corn are the primary food sources, he said. We have a significant warm front hitting, so I'd expect to see a shift back to alfalfa and clover.
Ridenour also says that scraping activity has ramped up a lot in the past few days. Furthermore, older bucks are beginning to move more and farther during daylight.
Overall, we're entering the final 10 days to capitalize on bed-to-feed patterns. The time where bucks can end up anywhere is rapidly approaching. If you have a pattern on a target deer, capitalize quickly. That window of opportunity will soon close.
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