What deer activity are you seeing?
Things are happening in the Southwest, too. Here's the lowdown on each state in the region.
Steven Tisdale, my good friend who bowhunts east of Lubbock, Texas, said he spent all day Saturday in Borden County, rattling, and he called in five different mature bucks. He noted that most does are still accompanied by fawns, and he observed two different bucks scent check doe groups from 100 yards downwind. Overall, some bucks are still coming to feed and eating steadily, but many others only drop by to check food sources before moving on. One of his lease mates deployed some scent bombs near a feeder during a morning hunt. When he returned around 11 a.m., a buck was standing near the scent-deployment site. Tisdale believes bucks are desperately seeking that first estrous doe. They're covering a lot of ground and breaking from regular patterns.
Ronnie Parsons, who hunts the San Angelo area of the northern Edwards Plateau, said mature bucks on his lease have made themselves scarce. This past week, bigger bucks quit hitting feeders altogether. As of last weekend, Parsons was still not observing any chasing, though scrapes are beginning to show up around feeders. He believes the rut should start any day in that area, possibly this weekend.
Mike Stroff, host of Savage Outdoors TV and owner of SOE Hunts in Uvalde, and Western Ranch Outfitters in Ozona, said deer movement remains fairly slow in those areas. However, deer have been coming to feed steadily, and he predicts incoming cool weather should have them moving a bit better this weekend.
Matthew Futtere, CEO and owner of Veteran Innovative Products out of Fredericksburg, Texas, said the rut is in full swing in his neck of the woods. Bucks are rubbing, scraping and chasing does aggressively. He also said he hit a nice buck with his truck as it chased a doe across the highway this week. A cold front is pushing deep into Texas this weekend, and it should encourage more movement. Futtere recommends dressing warm, packing a lunch, grunt tube and rattling horns. Sit all day.
Eddie Claypool, one of the most successful blue-collar bowhunters around, said bucks in northeastern Oklahoma are chasing does pretty hard and roaming widely. Many of his local bucks have disappeared, seeking greener pastures, with numerous new deer beginning to take their place. Claypool said he still isn't seeing any whoppers, or significant signs of breeding. Scrape activity has dropped noticeably, except by younger bucks. All said, things have become highly unpredictable. An unexpected buck could appear beneath your stand at any time.
Danny Ferris, another diehard deer hunter, said he witnessed three bucks chasing does quite hard during an evening hunt yesterday. He also had two different 3½- to 4½-year-old bucks approach his calls and decoys aggressively.
Fred Eichler, owner of Full Draw Outfitters in southeastern Colorado, seconds that assessment. He said whitetails are rutting full tilt, chasing does, responding to calls and fighting aggressively. If you have an unfilled Colorado deer tag, don't miss this weekend. It could prove the best opportunity of the season.
The Southwest proper is still weeks away from any solid rutting activity, especially in relation to Coues whitetails. Most mature bucks are still in small bachelor groups, with younger bucks generally found hanging out with large doe groups. With many rifle seasons ongoing, the best course of action remains posting on a high vantage and putting quality optics to work. Daytime movement remains fair due to cooler weather.
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