Weekly Rut Report by Larry Weishuhn, "Mr. Whitetail"
I have been invited to participate in reporting on Whitetail deer rutting activity throughout the United States. This will be a weekly feature here on The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
$g&m f9bd 45kd q!?5.
I first bumped into Mr Whitetail on Winchester World of Whitetail with Larry Weishuhn, and as I mentioned Versus has asked me to share Mr Whitetail's information with all my friends and readers.
9/1 through 9/7Albert,
Recovering from my “sheepless” and “grizzless” trip to Alaska, I headed immediately upon my return home, to Kansas to host a hunt auctioned at the 2009 Dallas Safari Club on property owned by Kansas Whitetails. With the hunt completed, I spent late afternoon of the 31st sitting on the same soybean fields where during the 2007 and 2008 Kansas early muzzleloader season I shot a gross 171 and a gross 145 10 point during those respective years. I was anxious, even though I’m not hunting Kansas this year to see what might be frequenting the field. By about 30 minutes before sundown there were 18 bucks in the beanfield a few miles northwest of Hutchison. Of the 18 bucks, 15 were still in full velvet, 2 looked as if they had shed the the velvet at least a couple of day ago, and the remaining buck had just started rubbing his velvet. Interesting too, walking to the ground blind where I had previously hunted I found where a buck has opened a scrape which has been active at least the last two years. It was obvious where he had pawed the ground in the “last year’s scrape”. This seems a bit early to me.
Bucks came into the field in small bachelor groups, but also as singles. Based on what I saw there in Kansas and what reports I have been getting most of the whitetail bucks are at least totally finished growing antlers for the year, and they are just starting to rub. This was borne out as well in my part of Texas west of San Antonio where the Hill Country meets the Brush Country of South Texas. Driving home (early morning of the 1st of September) in the dark between the hours of 1 and nearly 4 am I saw several deer on the side of the road, including young and mature buck. All of the bucks I saw were still in velvet, yet it appears the velvet is starting to dry meaning within this week many of the bucks will begin rubbing. In visiting with Gary Machen west of Pearsall this past weekend, Gary said the bucks on his place were still in bachelor groups, other than a few singles here and there; were still in velvet and that he thought that my mid-September they would be pretty well “rubbed out”. I asked him about fawn survival rates in South Texas and according to him because of the extremely harsh drought the area had been in, he suspected very few fawns had survived this year in that region. “With both last year and this years fawn survival being extremely low, we’re really going to see few mature bucks three and more years from now. Because of the excellent mesquite bean crop the deer look OK this year, but the lack of fawns for this and last year is really going to hurt us in the future.”
I had a email from Brian Cassium who manages the Cabela’s store in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area. Brian hunts public ground, and does a fair amount of trail camera scouting. While he was not specific about the area he hunts (and I don’t blame him), he sent me photo of some really good bucks (in velvet) which he caught on camera the last weekend in August, bucks that almost look to big to come from PA public hunting ground. Brian said the bucks in his area of PA are “looking pretty good”, and that he expects them to start rubbing this week and next.
Out in western Montana I spoke with Melvin Moorehouse, the whitetails he’s been seeing in the Big Sky Country are still in velvet and bachelor groups. Melvin who “chases horses” across much of that great state when not scouting or hunting for whitetail deer told me he’s seen some truly outstanding bucks this year. I got the same report from Al Morehart out west of Regina, Saskatchewan. “No rutting activity yet in this part of Canada, but the bucks should shortly be rubbing. I wil say this, it should be a good antler year up this way.” Said Al when I spoke with him this past week.
Moving over to the Big Woods of Maine, I visited with Mike and Kim French. “Deer in central and northern Maine are always tough to see and find, be it scouting or hunting. But I’ve seen a few bucks that have some great antlers for our part of the country. One in particular was a big bodied and antlered buck. We should start finding some early scrapes in the next two or three weeks.”
Down in Florida, Ray Boone told me the rut is continuing in the lower part of Florida, but that bucks in the northern part of the state were still in velvet. Then over in lowlands of South Carolina where the hunting season opened on August 15, I spoke with Tom Moore. According to him he’s seen a number of bucks on property they have started managing for quality deer. “The antler development is up from last year on on private lease, where we restrict the number of bucks taken. Bucks are still in bachelor herds. While most are still in velvet, each day I’m seeing a few more rubbed out bucks. Expect to start seeing more rubs and start seeing scrapes in the next several days.”
In eastern Iowa just up the banks of the Mississippi I talked to Travis Simpson. “It’s going to be another outstanding antler year from what we’ve started seeing both on cameras and scouting beanfields late in the afternoon. I’ve seen some truly impressive bucks. We should start seeing both rubs and early scrapes in the next two weeks.”
I’ve emailed back and forth with several other hunters across the country, as well as spoken to several hunters in airports in my travels the last days of August and the consensus is pretty well the same. Throughout much of the continent it’s going to be a darn good year for whitetails. Many regions of the whitetail range have had a fair amount of rainfall and temperatures have been relatively cool. Unfortunately where I live in Southwest Texas it’s been just the opposite.
I’m headed to the range in a few minutes to start making certain my rifles, pistols and shotguns are still putting my Winchester ammunition exactly where I’m holding. Don’t know about you, but with the little cooler temperatures I’ve been experiencing in my travels, I’m really starting to get excited about the soon coming 2009 hunting season.
On a similar note, NY Bowhunter Marc Alberto has plenty of picture evidence that the bucks, and big ones at that, are rubbing up a storm in his neck of the woods. Velvet's Gone, Big Buck Rubs Appearing.
Albert A Rasch
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...