What deer activity are you seeing?
As a whole, the region can expect some good deer hunting this weekend. But where, exactly? Here are the details.
Steven Tisdale, my good friend from the Lubbock area, says rub lines are stretching out and becoming more noticeable. Action at feeders remains reliable. He also says 2- to 4-year-old bucks are still quite tolerable of one another. As a whole, they're still in late-summer feeding patterns. That said, older bucks are breaking off from bachelor groups and doing their own thing.
Ronnie Parsons, my old hunting buddy who hunts the San Angelo area, says that portion of the Lone Star State remains hot and dry. Take this opportunity to hunt over water. Mature bucks have been showing sporadically at feeders, but mostly outside legal shooting hours. However, they did tag one very nice buck last weekend. That buck gross scored 152 2/8 inches. Parsons concluded that bucks visiting feeders are growing a bit more irritated with one another, and that he recently witnessed a couple bucks challenge each other. All told, serious rut activity is still a few weeks away in this region.
Mike Stroff, Realtree pro staffer and host of Savage Outdoors, says deer activity on his South Texas outfitting properties has been very good during the past week. Conditions remain pretty warm, but cooling weather has arrived, sparking good deer movement. Stroff says conditions remain especially dry, so food and water are everything right now.
K.C. Smith, of The Element podcast, says East Texas has turned hot again after a few days of cooler weather. Temperatures hit 89 degrees just a few days ago. He says bucks in his area are still hanging out together, too. He's hoping that things will turn around as October progresses. As for food, white oaks are still holding tight to their acorns. Smith says deer are currently targeting soft mast and corn.
Eddie Claypool, a world-class bowhunter out of northeastern Oklahoma, says scrape activity is picking up daily. But it's still largely at night. He looks forward to the cooler weather that's predicted for the weekend and believes this will increase daytime movement. Historically, he usually witnesses an uptick in rut activity this time of year and insists mid-to-late October is the time to kill a homebody buck that you've been keeping tabs on all season. His advice? Get it done before the rut kicks in and movement patterns become increasingly scattered.
On the Eastern Plains — the state's whitetail hotbed — warm weather has had an impact the past couple weeks, but the weekend promises a dip in temperatures that's sure to prompt improved deer movement. Sources tell me bucks are still tolerating one another and showing no interest in does. The rut is still weeks out. However, they have observed some non-aggressive sparring and increased scraping and rubbing activity. Rut aside, deer are showing during legal shooting hours on food sources, including food plots, sprouting winter wheat and waste grain.
Arizona and New Mexico
This is prime scouting season in Arizona and New Mexico. Coues whitetail are extremely territorial, so they're loyal to their core areas. If you don't actually lay eyes on a good buck, ear-marking concentrations of does or simply lots of fresh sign can put you in the money. All indications point to huge trophy potential for the 2019-20 season, and it's never too early to start scouting.
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