What deer activity are you seeing?
We've been patiently waiting on the rut. Well, it's finally here. Things are happening. And the action is hot.
Dale Denny, owner of BearPaw Outfitters out of Colville, said bucks are chasing does hard. He added that his clients have had 100% shot opportunities this week. Daytime movement has remained steady, with stray bucks appearing on cameras weekly.
Dustin Bromley, hunting on northern Idaho private lands, said he is seeing lots of new scrapes and some very aggressive rubs. He watched a buck peacefully hang out with does yesterday morning. He believes deer are charging up for the rut, but it hasn't peaked yet. Other bucks were looking for does, but didn't seem to be tending them.
Daytime movement increased slightly from last week. The biggest bucks are still appearing in the morning until around 9 a.m. Evening activity is cranking up around 4 p.m. Only the occasional buck is appearing during midday hours. The two biggest bucks on my radar — bucks I've been tracking since early season — have remained completely nocturnal and aren't appearing during daylight. Scraping isn't as regularly this week, but steady rain could be to blame. Weather is clearing and temperatures plummeting, which signals an excellent weekend for those who still own unfilled tags. Some northern Idaho units — such as the vast, popular 10A — close today, which has the potential to shift hunting pressure into other units where competition has previously been limited.
Outdoor writer Thomas Tabor, who lives in the Hamilton area of western Montana, said mule deer are rutting. Some seasons in this part of western Montana closed this week, while others are open through Thanksgiving weekend. Tabor said larger bucks with harems have pushed out younger bucks. Tabor lives in higher sage-brush habitat, but generally, whitetail rutting activities in lower river bottoms — like the Bitterroot River — mirror those exhibited by mule deer.
Mike Ellig, owner of Black Gold Sights out of Bozeman, said the rut is now running hot and heavy. He's observing a lot of chasing. So, if your unit is still open, this weekend promises good action.
Dustin Decroo, owner of Bighorn Outfitters near Buffalo, Wyoming, said the whitetail rut is in full swing. He expects hunting to remain excellent through the end of the season. DeCroo and his guides have been tagging a good number of mature bucks during the week. He expects this weekend to remain excellent.
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