Activity is increasing in the whitetail woods

A good sign of increased deer activity is the appearance of more and more rubs.

A pair of six-point bucks moseyed into the standing bean field as golden hues of the rising sun glistened off their thick, winter coats.

The unseasonably warm weather many have enjoyed this month has kept deer movement to a minimum so far this archery deer season. For hunters who have ventured afield, the best action has been early mornings and late evenings as the deer have been laying low during the heat of the day

For those hunters waiting for cooler temperatures, now is the time to dust off your boots and head afield. The weather man is predicting cooler temperatures in the coming two weeks, even with the possibility of snow in some parts of the state.

While the two 6s grazed near each other on this warm Saturday morning , they also seemed to keep some distance between each other. And when one of the bucks moved closer to the other, the second buck turned to face the other and they quickly locked antlers. A brief tussle of pushing back-and-forth ensued, then they broke apart, continued to graze, then eventually left the field in the same area in which they had appeared.

Activity is picking up in the whitetail woods.

On my way back to my parking spot later that morning, I happened across several fresh rubs and a couple new scrapes.

This is the time of year bowhunters dream of. The pre-rut is beginning and action will continue to heat up from here on out.

Many hunters contend that the rut is the best time to hunt. While I don’t dispute that notion, I also get excited about hunting the pre-rut. I’m not downplaying the rut, just explaining that there is a lot of activity during the pre-rut, too.

It’s true that bucks, especially mature bucks, are on the move during the rut – during daylight hours, too. But by the time the rut arrives, does are receptive to bucks, and once they get together it’s game over as far as movement. They’ll hunker down together in a limited area and won’t leave that area until mating has been completed.

During the pre-rut, however, bucks are getting randy as their testosterone levels soar. Since estrogen levels are slower to rise in does, bucks are on the move in hopes of finding the first estrous doe. They are rubbing and scraping. They’re sparring and scent-checking. By the time the rut arrives, some of those sparring sessions have turned into full-fledged battles.

Bucks are not as love-crazed as they will be in a few weeks, when the rut arrives in earnest, but they are certainly on a mission right now.

Don’t wait for the rut. Now is the time to get out into the woods.

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