Northeast Rut Reporter Mike Bleech has been hunting whitetails in his native Pennsylvania and throughout the Northeast for more than four decades. A Vietnam veteran and full-time freelance outdoor writer, Bleech has had more than 5000 of his articles published. States covered: ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA OH, MD, DE.
Overall Activity Status:** In general, deer have been very active through the past few days, peaking last weekend through the central parts of the Northeast Region.
Fighting: No fighting reported the past few days.
Rub & Scrape Making: Hunting partner Mike Stimmell said that the peak of both rubbing and scraping in his nook of the Allegheny National Forest took place last Saturday night.
Chasing: Bucks chasing does appears to be in the peak range, with some variation from one area to another. Marty Harrington, owner of Marty’s Sports in Bennington, Vermont, reports that over the past few days most of the bucks his customers have seen were with does.
Daytime Movement: Many hunters have been saying that deer activity has been primarily tied to the weather. When it is warm most activity takes place at night. Conversely, cooler temperatures bring out deer during daylight hours.
Andy Buschak, who works at Edinboro Outdoors in northwest Pennsylvania, got his Pennsylvania buck, a decent 8-point, with his bow several days ago. He hunted by a food plot, and brought the buck into range with a grunt tube. Now he is hunting in Ohio. Last Saturday morning two bucks chasing a doe passed his stand without presenting a shooting situation. Several of his customers said that last Saturday was their best day. That also was the last day of the Pennsylvania archery deer season.
Estrous Signs: There is no better estrous sign than does being chased by bucks. (See above.)
X Factor: The peak of the rut is winding down in most of the Northeast Region. This does not mean the rut is done for the year. Far from it. Bucks are really cranked up, but with fewer hot does around they may actually be more huntable than they were a week ago. Be sure to carry your grunt tube.
The peak of the rut is not a uniform period of time throughout the region. John Havlick, at Frank’s Gun and Tackle Shop in Gloversville, New York, reported that bucks in his area in the southern Adirondacks are just midway through chasing does. Some nice 8-point and 10-point bucks were taken by customers last Saturday.
Things are happening even later in northern Maine. Don Burnett, at No. 9 Lake Outfitters, has been seeing an increasing number of scrapes and rubs, but said that daytime temperatures in the 50s have reduced daytime deer movements. In that part of the far north this is unseasonably warm. Cooler weather is predicted. One of his hunters passed up a nice buck, either a 6-point or an 8-point this week, hoping for something bigger. Good luck.
I will be hunting with him later this fall during the muzzleloader season, and would be happy to take that buck passed up this week.
According to Burnett there is a saying up his way. “Don’t pass up on Monday what you’d be proud of Friday.”
But there is another saying. “You can’t shoot a big buck if you fill your tag with a small buck.”