With signs of a second rut peak in my area of northwest Pennsylvania on the ground in the form of fresh scrapes, I checked with contacts around our northeast region to get a handle on the overall rut situation.
In western New York, specifically at S&S Taxidermy Archery in Springville, New York, Brian Stedman said that a secondary rut has been kicking in for the past five to seven days. There are plenty of fresh rubs and scrapes. Earlier, though, his customers mentioned that the number of scrapes and rubs had been unusually few. The main peak in November was not quite as distinct as normal.
At Broken Arrow Archery Shop in Newark, Ohio, in the central part of the state, word is that bucks have been seen chasing does, likewise indicating a secondary rut peak coming into play. Here the rut may have been more “normal” than elsewhere.
The past two weeks have been unusually “terrible” according to sources at Delaware Outdoors in Smyrna, Delaware. That may be attributed to unseasonably warm weather. However, just now there are indications of a secondary rut peak also. The rut here this year has been much in line with normal.
In the Pennsylvania Game Commission weekly field report, Tioga County WCO Robert F. Minnich noted that the rut was kicking in just as the two-week regular rifle season for deer was starting. He felt that was good news for hunters. As mentioned here in a previous report, rifle hunters in Pennsylvania seldom use rut-related hunting tactics.
Our friend Rob Rogan, in Connecticut, reported that last Saturday the woods were quieter than they had been all season. He got into his stand at 5:30 a.m., anticipating a usual visit by deer around 7:00 a.m. But that did not happen. He noted seeing deer in yards the evening before and wondered if they bedded early.
At 8:30 a.m. he had a coyote come within 20 yards, and he dropped it with an arrow. Congratulations on that, Rob. I have been hoping for the same myself, so far in vain.
Those hunters lucky enough to still be hunting should keep using bleat and grunt calls and estrous scent By the time I get back to hunting deer after Christmas, I expect that rutting will be all but done. In the meantime, I hope to be hunting coyotes.