NYBowHunter.com Deer Report #6
New York – -(Ammoland.com)- If last week's report could be characterized as “quiet” this weeks would be “hot-to-cold activity”.
In other words, we had some excellent (4 buck, plus a dozen does or so) sits but we also had some goose eggs with Craig racking up an all time high of 3 in one weekend (ugh). Deer sightings were up to 1.5 sightings per hr. (last week was 1.3 deer per hr.) but that is still low for our property–especially during a good weather weekend.
The good news is our 2.5 buck sighting ratio is up to 50% (6 of 12) and a few of the 6 were older than 2.5. This is always a good indicator of better things to come. Last week we called for an up-tick when the weekend weather turned cold and sure enough activity picked up with the colder weather.
Our camera photo counts are still not real high especially on photo sites that are set up to capture “cruising” bucks. Most of our photos are on or near corn fields with brassicas plots being a distant second. We are seeing more daylight photos of older bucks but not enough to say they are “cruising”. We are definitely seeing 1.5 year old bucks exhibit “cruising” and light chasing behavior. Our 3, 4, 5 year old bucks are still for the most part nocturnal.
Neil and Radar are out tracking (for a friend) this morning (Monday) so we don't have definitive camera data but after a quick run through last night, it looks like this week we picked up 4-5 unique bucks which will bring our unique count to around 50. Most of the newcomers are older aged bucks. Overall, it looks like buck activity is beginning to pick up in the older age classes. This should steadily build over the next week or two.
We definitely picked up a nice mature buck this week that hasn't been photographed before. If he stays around and we can get him on a scale he will give it a nice stretch. Neil hunted his old buddy once this weekend to no avail. He did photograph him once at night so he is still with us.
We have been getting a lot of reports from the field with a few common themes emerging. Most are seeing increases in young buck activity. Most report increases in young buck sightings and young bucks “on the march”. Most are also seeing increases in older age class sightings as well. We are getting reports of “flushes” (short runs) but not many reports of prolonged chases (tongues hanging out and panting).
In tracking the rut we don't call “rut on” until we see a number of indicators all at once. We look for older age class bucks on the march in daylight hours, hard chases by older age bucks, doe-fawn groups broken up with isolated fawns looking for mama, and a marked decline in food plot use by does. We also look for a marked increase in the ‘Unique buck” tally for the week. Our crossing cameras show marked increases in activity and this activity occurs at all times of day.
While seeing an increase in some of these behaviors we still are not seeing enough consistency to call “rut on”. The “uniques” haven't “spiked” and the crossing cameras are all but dead in daylight hours. We are seeing more interest in does by bucks. But a few chases here and there “doth not a rut make” (Shakespeare). It could pop at any time on any given property (caused by a single doe in heat) but the pattern is not there yet to tell you to take the rest of the week off. We wouldn't however recommend raking leaves next weekend. We are going to spend a lot of time in the woods this week and next.
We still are not too keen on disturbing our core areas that hold good deer. We would prefer to “fringe hunt” and wait them out. The best bucks are incredibly sensitive to pressure and it takes very little to shut them down. We put in a few shifts on “crossing” areas over the weekend to try to intercept a buck or two “on the march”. These sits were not productive. We did better on staging areas near food sources.
This week and next weekend will all be good times to be in the woods. It should get better any day and a hot doe or two can make all the difference in the world. We wouldn't take our last two days of vacation just yet but we wouldn't take the weekend off either.
Our good friend Charlie Alsheimer who predicts deer breeding cycles based upon moon phase is calling this November a “very strange month which may exhibit a number of breeding peaks and valleys”. He is predicting more breeding toward the end of the month than at the beginning. Let's all keep this in mind and continue to share information and observations.
Please continue to share your observations with us. They are very useful. And please send this to 3 new (as opposed to last weeks) deer buddies and tell them to sign up for the report. Our data base is growing rapidly and the more data the better the tracking.
Don't forget to click on our Buckeye Cams which are beaming photos to us all in real time. They can be found at www.NorthCountryWhitetails.com.
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