What deer activity are you seeing?
Some of the best hunting of the year is in sight. The weather continues to cooperate, and I'm hearing reports of good bucks hitting the turf in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Jersey. Overall, movement has been good throughout the region, and mornings have been a touch better than afternoons.
I spoke with Midwest Whitetail Pro Staffer Eric Hansen. He is located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. Movement there has been good. Deer have been focused on green food sources the past few weeks, but that changed in the past few days. The latest attraction is grain. Mature bucks have moved very little in daylight, though, and they're not covering much ground at night. Bucks are beginning to check scrapes, but the ones located close to thick cover are most active. Hunt these directly after a rainstorm. You just might get lucky and catch a buck freshening one.
I checked in with Joey Charlton of Bone Shack Outdoors in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. Overall, deer activity has been OK, with does and young bucks feeding on acorns in daylight. Deer have been hitting pastures and fields, too. He hasn't seen much for buck activity, though. White oaks are plentiful, but reds and other species are relatively sparse this season. Charlton encourages hunters to move cameras around and to set them up on scrapes.
Over on the coast, I spoke with big-buck killer Ryan Smith. He hunts in northwestern New Jersey. Smith and friends have had mature bucks hitting scrapes, but most activity has happened late in the evening and at night. Younger bucks began cruising more after last week's cold snap, but overall deer activity, and especially mature buck movement, has only been fair.
I've recently spent some time in the woods close to home here in central Maryland, where there's been solid deer activity around bean fields. Still, most mature-buck movement has been at last light and at night. That said, two new bucks showed up this week. I hope they stick around for the next month. Scrapes and rubs are popping up daily, too, and I even watched a few young bucks work scrapes this week.
Rest of the Region
New scrapes and rubs continue to show up, and scraping frequency continues to increase. Reports are flooding in of new bucks appearing where they hadn't been previously seen. The weather looks average for the rest of the region, but some states will receive some rain. Things are about to heat up. Just be patient. If you don't know where or what a buck is doing, refrain from sitting your best stands for another week or so. Food is still the key at this point, so hunt smart, not hard.
Stay safe, and good luck.
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