By Alex Comstock
Can you feel it? Do you get those goosebumps on your arm looking at the calendar yet? I know I sure do, because THE RUT is right around the corner. You can almost see it, it's so close. This last week has been utterly slow for me, but I have a hunch (hopefully) that it won't be long until the woods heats up with deer activity.
Since the last time I checked in with a journal post, the woods look like a completely different place. Leaves have fallen making trees bare, rubs are everywhere, along with the ground torn up a good amount from scrapes. This is that time of the year when bucks are starting to give clues on where they are spending time, and if you can put those clues together, that is when you might be able to end up with one of those mature bucks in the back of the truck. Luckily for me, there are a lot of these clues being left behind by bucks, and if I play my cards right, the next week of hunting should be my best of the year.
This past weekend I took to a quick scouting mission. I checked a few of my cameras and on the way in, I noticed a ton of rubs and scrapes. I had originally moved a bunch of cams over mock scrapes, and then I again moved a couple more over actual scrapes. I also did have one of my target bucks that I haven't seen since July re-surface, and it was in daylight as well, which is encouraging.
In short, the next week of hunting is go time for me. I'm going to be hunting extremely hard for two reasons. The first reason is that I really think the pre-rut phase of the season can be some of the best hunting if your targeting mature bucks. You may not see as many bucks as you will during peak rut, but those mature bucks will be the ones to get with the first hot doe, and if you time it right, they will be on their feet. Secondly, rifle season comes in here on November 4th, and I do a majority of my hunting on public land. If I can get a buck down before the gun hunters join the party, that would be ideal.
It might seem slow right now where you're at, I know it does for me. Last night I didn't see a single deer, but any day now could be the day. Hopefully next week will be the journal post with me behind a big buck, and hopefully you can shoot one soon too!