What deer activity are you seeing?
It's been hot and dry for most of the Southwest, but there's a little relief in sight. And we think deer movement will pick up in the coming days.
K.C. Smith, East Texas deer hunter and partner in The Element podcast, says this is probably the best early October action he's witnessed in years. They've had two substantial cold fronts roll through, which had deer on their feet and hitting food. He also said acorns are starting to hit the ground, though deer in his area are mostly hitting corn. He attributes this to the fact that more palatable white oak varieties have yet to begin dropping in numbers. He also noted two young bucks sparring and expects the coming cool weather to spark even better deer movement. Scrapes have not begun appearing in numbers, but he expects that to pick up in the coming weeks.
Friends in West Texas, particularly east of the Lubbock region, report continued action at feeders, with mature bucks continuing to appear during legal shooting hours. Some very good antlers have already been tagged, as antler growth has been exceptional after a wet spring and early summer. A cold front is pushing through, which is perfectly timed for weekend action. Get on stand and put in your time.
Ronnie Parsons, who hunts out of San Angelo and is as serious a whitetail hunter as I know, says it's been quite hot in most of Central Texas. Mature bucks he's captured on trail cameras lately have appeared under the safety of darkness. He also reported two mature bucks that went missing for two weeks reappeared last week, indicating the start of improved movement. Cooling temperatures have Parsons hopeful of seeing decent action this weekend.
Hot, dry weather continues to plague South Texas, though it appears some relief is in sight. Despite current conditions, late winter, spring and early summer precipitation did produce exceptional antler growth this year, so the season should produce some big bucks.
Joni Sanderford, of Croton Creek Ranch in western Oklahoma, says they've been observing a lot of movement. She days deer have been feeding early the past two evenings. She also reported that all of the early moisture resulted in some dandy antlers this season.
The Eastern Plains have suffered a bit from severe heat, but things have cooled off this week. Drier weather allowed farmers to harvest earlier than last year. That sent deer back into the creek and river bottoms where they are more viable targets for bowhunters in stands. This should be an excellent year to tag a great buck in Colorado.
Big-game outfitter Ralph Ramos, owner of Ramos Hunts & Video, says most New Mexico deer just finished shedding velvet. Moisture for 2019 has been above average, so big bucks abound. He predicts the Coues and whitetail rut to be right on schedule for the year, firing up around December 25.
Darren Choate, owner of Western Whitetail and a die-hard Coues whitetail hunter, says nothing out of the ordinary is occurring in his state right now. He says bucks are nearly out of velvet, which means bachelor groups will break up soon. He says it's still warm and dry. That's pretty much par for this area this time of year. He says a few youth hunts have already opened, and a handful of exceptional bucks have been taken thus far. He expects more good things to come.
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