Northwest Rut Report: The Rut Is on Fire


Northwest Rut Report: The Rut Is on Fire

Posted 2019-11-29T09:49:00Z  by  Patrick Meitin

What deer activity are you seeing?

Northwest Rut Report: The Rut Is on Fire - c_dstroik-shutterstock-nw

The best deer hunting is upon is. The rut is here. It's time to be in the deer woods and take full advantage of bucks losing their minds.


Bowhunters have another week to 10 days to enjoy deer hunting in northeastern Washington. Some seasons will soon end. Depending on the unit, some amount of rutting activity should continue for the remainder of these soon-to-close seasons. For most hunters, major scrape lines and doe-attracting food sources are major factors this weekend. I've observed bucks chasing does aggressively. Rut action should wind down by next weekend, though. Until then, buck movement should be excellent as they seek receptive does.


Buck movement remains strong in northern Idaho units. However, some of these areas close on December 1. Unit 10A — northern Idaho's biggest — is now closed for the year. This has shifted all hunting pressure to outlying areas.

On public lands, daytime movement has definitely improved. Midday appearances are more common — making all-day sits worthwhile. That said, the brunt of movement is occurring from sunrise to 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to sunset. On less-disturbed private lands, a mature buck could show up at any time. I saw a giant 10-pointer moving around noon on posted land hear home.

Dormant scrapes are now back online and being hit hard. This indicates that many does have been bred and bucks are seeking the last receptive females. Make time to get into stands well before sunrise. Sit in the dark for an hour if need be. Avoid bumping deer from scrapes or feeding areas. Most apple trees are now stripped bare and waste grain is exhausted. Focus on winter wheat. Time is short. But these can prove to be the best days of the season for tagging a bruiser buck. Don't give up yet.


Thomas Tabor is an outdoor writer in west central Montana. He said mule deer bucks are in full-rut now. They are moving non-stop and seeking hot does. Sadly, aside from doe and a few youth hunts, most Montana units are now closed. Where still open, Tabor advises hunters to stay in the field all day long.

Mike Ellig, owner of Black Gold Sights out of Bozeman, said the whitetail rut is definitely winding down in his part of Big Sky Country. That said, he did watch three mature bucks chase after a hot doe on Wednesday. Ellig says females are beginning to bunch up again. They're acting much calmer. He believes this indicates they aren't being hounded by bucks as much.


Dustin DeCroo, from Bighorn Outfitters near Buffalo, Wyoming, said they've tagged a good number of high-scoring bucks during the week. Rattling is bringing diminishing returns, though, unless they find a buck without a doe. Tuesday, every buck they saw was tending a doe and they witnessed a lot of breeding. Weather remains relatively warm, but deer are deep enough into the rut they don't seem to care. Unfortunately, all Wyoming deer seasons close November 30. The action is still hot. You have one day left. So, get after it.

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  • Day Activity

  • Rubbing

  • Scraping

  • Fighting

  • Seeking

  • Chasing

  • Breeding