Overall Activity: I sat in a ground blind on Saturday, October 10, in the northern Texas Panhandle. My friend Kurt had trail-camera pictures of a beautiful typical 11-point, 140-plus caliber buck at that blind. The buck had been showing up in daylight since before the season started. Checking the trail camera before I hunted, the buck had been there three of the four previous afternoons. You guessed it, I sat there with a good wind and saw zero deer. It was hot—80-plus degrees, but it had been hot other days when he was there. No telling what happened. One possibility, though, is the rancher moved cattle in that area the previous day, and the cowboys might have bumped that buck out of his pattern. So just when you think sitting at a blind and shooting a familiar face will be easy—it isn’t.
Fighting: Scouting from a far with optics and checking trail cameras, I’ve seen bucks sparring, but nothing serious yet. Mostly young bucks building neck strength and establishing who is the boss.
Rub Making: A rub I noticed a week ago on a small mesquite tree was shredded to the ground yesterday. The tree had two split trunks, each about the diameter of a broom handle. Now both trunks are shredded and broken at ground level, the entire plant dead in a pile of saw dust.
Scrape Making: None reported yet. Vegetation is still so thick, maybe when the leaves drop off the mesquites next month it will be easier to see fresh sign in the river bottom.
Chasing: No reports of any serious buck interactions with does. Friends report that bucks and does congregated around feeders mostly ignore each other. That will likely change, at least in the northern half of the region, as we get closer to Halloween. Serious chasing in south Texas won’t happen until late November or early December.
Daytime Movement: Lots of reports of bucks hitting feeders in daylight hours now. Still, the first and last hour of the day are the prime-time windows. A fine 12-point mule deer I’ve been monitoring on trail cameras since early September is still a vampire, but what’s interesting is the time he shows up is getting closer and closer to legal last light in the afternoon. The three smaller bucks he runs with are doing the same thing. I’m betting when we get some cold weather, he will be on the trail camera at last light and will finally be huntable. Until then, I just stay out of that area.
Estrous Sign: None yet
X Factor: Though the rest of us can barely lay eyes on a live deer, Ronnie Parsons is stacking up big 12-points like firewood. The veteran Texas bowhunter arrowed his 43rd Pope & Young class whitetail last week. The buck had a green gross score of 144-inches with a live weight of 122 pounds and aged at 5 ½-years-old. In my next report, I’ll have a photo and details on Parsons fine Hill Country buck.