WEEKLY RUT REPORT
9/8 through 9/15
by Larry Weishuhn, "Mr. Whitetail"
The Sunday before Labor Day I traveled to our local Uvalde Gun Club rifle range to sight-in my T/C Icon .270 Winchester, topped with a Nikon Monarch scope and shooting Winchester 130 grain Ballistic Silvertip; a combination I truly like when hunting with a bolt action rifle. This was in preparation to hunting whitetails with Al Morhart on his Hartland Ranch near Regina, Saskatachewan, Canada in mid-September. Hartland is a high-fenced operation of considerable size where deer never realize there is boundary fence. Be that as it may, the deer have more than plenty escape cover and like most “confined deer” are intimately knowlegeable of their habitat and know quite well how to evade mere human hunters.
I love hunting whitetails regardless of where they are found. And, I occasionally hunt their kind behind high fences; in so saying, realize research involving radio telemetry collared bucks shows mature bucks jump back and forth over high fences, remaining there only if they want to.
Three rounds proved my .270 Win was still properly sighted in, dead on at 100 yards, all three shots touching. As I was packing up I had a call from Denver McCormick from just outside of Oklahoma City to tell me about his recent African trip with his grandsons. He also mentioned the whitetail bucks southeast of Oklahoma’s capital city were just starting to rub velvet. “I did see one scrape that looked like it had been visited, but only it appears like the buck only pawed in the scrape. By the 15th most of our bucks should be rubbed out and we should start seeing bucks just starting to open scrapes. But for a while longer they should still roam the woods in bachelor herds.”
As I started this week’s rut report I had a call from Bill Whitfield who among other properties conducts hunts on theRock Jack Ranch west of Fort Worth, TX. “Inspite of dry weather during our antler growing season I saw a bunch of 150 class bucks on the spotlight census line we conducted last night (September 7). Most of the bucks we saw had just rubbed out, but we did still see bucks in velvet. They were also in bachelor groups from 2 to 7. I checked scrapes that had have been active for the past three or four years. None had been opened, but I expect they will start doing so by the middle to latter part of the month.”
Brett Miller, who heads up the versuscountry.com relative to the outdoors sent a report that he on Labor Day weekend had spent some time in New Jersey, on public land. Brett reported, “Saw something over 50 deer of which three were obvious bucks; a spike that was still in velvet, a 6-point I watched rub out and a big 8 point in the 140 class that was still in velvet, but looked like it was completely developed and will rub out within a week.”
Donald Hill owns and operatesOak Creek Ranch in central Missouri. It’s one of the places I hunted for “Winchester World of Whitetail” in 2008 and I am truly looking forward to hunting there again in 2009. “The bucks in our area have really been feeding in our soybean food plots and they’ve grown “fat and sassy”. We’re seeing some of the best antlered bucks we’ve ever seen in our area. The bucks are in bachelor herds and are just now starting to shed their velvet. Interestingly we’ve had a cool and relatively wet summer and the deer in our area are quickly putting on their winter coats! Seeing some rubs, but no scrapes, but I suspect by the beginning of the third week we should start seeing some scrapes.”
Richard Hammond, one of the regulars to our rut report last year, from Maryland, sent an email stating “Still seeing spotted fawns, and only a few bucks and all are still in velvet.” He continued, “They’re just now starting to harvest some corn and that will stir up the deer a bit once the “corn forests” start disappearing. I’ll have a better idea of what the deer are up to once our archery season starts here on the 15th.”
Jim McCarthy, the famous booking agent from Pennsylvania sent a message that he had been in contact with several outfitters from the Mid-West and West, those he represents. According to Jim, “Deer throughout much of the Mid-West and West are in great shape this year. It looks like antler development will be up this year. We’ve had good range conditions and a cool summer. Deer are really starting to feed on agricultural fields. Most of the outfitter/guides I’ve spoken with said the bucks were just starting to shed velvet, but were still traveling in bachelor groups. Where deer are going into soybean fields they’re being seen, but it will be a while before corn is harvested this year and there’s no telling what’s living in those corn field forests.”
“The rut is slowing down considerably in southern Florida.” Came a message from Walt Jones (just as I was about to submit this report) who spends this time of the late summer and early fall mostly fishing for large mouth bass, as he awaits the beginning of November and December whitetail hunting seasons across North America.
I’m traveling once again and will be at the Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine the 12th and at the Fox Ridge store in Rochester, New Hampshire the night of the 12th, then headed to go hunt with Al Morhart on the 13th. Hope you’ve enjoyed the summer, because early Fall is upon us. Isn’t it Grand!