What deer activity are you seeing?
It's crazy to think we're in the middle of October. Much of the Northeast has experienced great weather so far, and deer activity continues to ramp up.
I spoke with Midwest Whitetail pro staffer Corey Slater in western Pennsylvania, who hunts just north of Pittsburgh. Slater said acorns are hot right now with clover and alfalfa still attracting deer. Rubs and scrapes are beginning to show. And he's witnessed solid deer movement during the first and last hours of daylight. Slater recently helped with a mentored hunt were his hunter tagged a 6-plus-year-old buck. Slater watched the buck make a scrape, and then grunted the deer in range. That said, he hasn't witnessed any fighting yet.
Moving eastward, Realtree pro staffer Anthony Virga is starting to see rubs and scrapes open up. He also notes that bucks are beginning to disband from bachelor groups. Virga mentioned noticing some button bucks alone, which seems a little early compared to last year. On some of the colder days — when temperatures were below 50 — buck activity increased with a few good bucks hitting food sources well before dark.
Acorns are heavy this year with red oaks being primary. There are very few white oak acorns on the ground. Clover, vetch and chicory are also popular among deer right now. With the abundance of mast, it's been tough for him to track down some of his target bucks.
Whitetail connoisseur Cameron McSain reports good overall deer activity. White oaks are plentiful this year, and corn and soybeans are getting hit regularly. Some corn is still standing, though, so that's a challenge to overcome. The majority of mature buck movement is still occurring just before or after dark. Rubs and scrapes are really starting to pop up, too. Finally, McSain had an encounter with a spike buck harassing a doe and fawn, which isn't uncommon for immature bucks this time of year.
The region as a whole reports younger bucks bumping and checking does on food sources. But there's nothing too serious happening just yet. As we creep toward November, rut sign will continue increasing. Move cameras to scrapes if you haven't done so yet. It's a good way to see what's in the area. Also, continue focusing on food. You never know when that big one might come in to check out things. Lastly, most of the Northeast is seeing cooler temperatures, setting up a good weekend of hunting. With cooler temperatures this weekend, bucks should move a bit more during daylight.
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