Northeast Rut Report: Now Entering the Lockdown Phase


Northeast Rut Report: Now Entering the Lockdown Phase

Posted 2019-11-15T12:16:00Z  by  Josh Montgomery

What deer activity are you seeing?

Northeast Rut Report: Now Entering the Lockdown Phase - cbetty_shelton-shutterstock-ne

The hunting has been great the past week or so, but expect the action to slow down as bucks begin to bed up with receptive does.


I spoke with Midwest Whitetail pro staffer Corey Slater in western Pennsylvania. He hunts just north of Pittsburgh. A week ago, he tagged a buck coming to a field as it checked for does. Since then, the mature buck movement has increased. They're seeing lots of chasing and cruising. Slater believes they should be at or around their peak, with the expectation of lockdown in the coming days. In that area, cut corn has been a hot spot, as many farmers recently harvested fields. With temperatures staying low, this trend should continue through the weekend.

Moving over to central Pennsylvania, Midwest Whitetail pro staffer Matt Lewis spent a few days on some family ground. Overall, deer movement was good. The lower temperatures helped, and he witnessed mature bucks cruising, chasing and freshening rubs and scrapes.

New Jersey

I spoke with David Bush out in central New Jersey. He is seeing good mature buck movement, and he believes deer are in peak rut. He said they're covering a lot of ground. Bedding areas and thick cover are hot right now. So are funnels between bedding areas. With the pressure from bucks, feeding areas have shown less activity. Food is a secondary thought for bucks at this point.

Region as a Whole

We are in the heart of November. Cold weather has moved in and the action has heated up. On Sunday, while driving, I witnessed a mature buck dogging a doe across a large ag field at noon. Bucks are moving at all hours, and there is a lot of chasing occurring.

All told, we're nearing the peak breeding phase. The majority of does are in or will soon enter estrus. The mature bucks don't have to travel far to find one, so movement can seem to slow. Know where does bed, and hunt there to stay in the action. You just have to be patient. A buck could break from his doe at any time and begin the search for another one.

Last weekend, I had a good amount of deer show up to a bean field. More cold weather is in the forecast with below-average temperatures. Daylight movement should remain exceptional because of it.

We have about a week or two of the best hunting left. Be sure to get out as much as you can. Be patient and dress for the weather. It's going to be cold.

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  • Day Activity

  • Rubbing

  • Scraping

  • Fighting

  • Seeking

  • Chasing

  • Breeding