What deer activity are you seeing?
The season is progressing as we move deeper into October. More rut sign shows with each passing week. Younger bucks are beginning to test each other. Older ones are becoming less tolerant and breaking off from bachelor groups. More rubs are showing up as tension builds, too.
With the recent cold front, overall deer movement has been good, and some solid bucks hit the dirt in the past week. October cold fronts are great to take advantage of, as they tend to get older deer moving a little more during daylight. A good part of the Northeast experienced a dry end to summer, but the recent front brought some much-needed rain. There are a few more wet days in the forecast for parts of eastern New York, up through Connecticut and New Hampshire. Hopefully it will clear enough for hunters to get out this weekend.
I spoke with Anthony Bambach, assistant director of wildlife management of Westchester County's Angle Fly Preserve in southeastern New York. The surrounding area is having a record year for red oaks. The ground is covered with pin and black oak acorns, too. But the white oak mast crop is virtually nonexistent. Overall, the acorns seem to have deer spread out, making it tough to establish consistent patterns.
That aside, deer movement has been good with mature bucks mostly moving at first and last light. Rubs are starting to pop up, but there are few scrapes on the landscape. Younger bucks are still hanging together, but older deer aren't.
Moving down to Cabins, West Virginia, I checked in with Realtree pro staffer Rachelle Hedrick. She is located in the northeastern part of the state. Hedrick said bucks are still running in bachelor groups. Some young bucks have been harassing does, but the rut is still a ways out. Acorns are plentiful, with more reds than whites so far this year. Hedrick has also seen a few rubs recently, but not much for scraping activity just yet.
I spoke with big-buck slayer Keith Rutt, who is in southeastern Pennsylvania. Overall deer activity has been good with solid morning and afternoon movement. The older bucks seem to be breaking off and moving mostly at first and last light, with younger bucks visible and still hanging together. He's been seeing rub and scrapes pop up within the past week.
Here at home in central Maryland, it was a solid week of hunting with good overall activity. I've watched a few bucks make rubs and test each other with light sparring. I'm still not seeing much for scrapes, though.
To the far north, the weather forecast shows rain through the end of the week with mostly average temperatures. As long as the weather cooperates, the activity should continue to increase as we move through October.
As always, continue to stay sharp and practice with your weapon of choice. Be ready when you get your chance. Stay safe and good luck.
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