Overall activity status: Seemingly spurred by a cool front, deer movement seemed good to excellent across the region at the end of last week. Food-source hunting has produced trophy bucks in Missouri, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, where the archery season has been open since last Saturday.
Fighting: I’ve yet to hear a report of a serious buck fight, but many hunters are witnessing sparring contests, usually among less mature bucks.
Rub making: On a four-day hunt in Wisconsin’s northwoods, I was impressed by the number of rubs I saw while scouting. Any time I found a significant food source (usually a red oak dropping acorns) there were multiple rubs nearby. This indicates to me that several bucks are using the same area and want to advertise their presence.
Scrape making: Pretty spotty. Minnesota bowhunters have told me of finding the odd scrape (again, usually near a food source), and I found only a couple on my recent hunt. But when I did, it was a pretty exceptional scrape showing buck activity.
Daytime movement:** Deer are definitely moving well during legal shooting hours. One contact told me he was spotting deer as soon as he reached his stand yesterday; a full 2 1/2 hours before dark. Again, I believe cooling temps have been a huge factor in increased whitetail activity.
Estrous signs: None to report.
X-Factor: There’s been a crescent moon visible in the afternoon sky this week. While many hunters are skeptical about moon phase/position and its influence on deer movement, it’s been my experience that deer tend to move well during daylight when the moon is visible.