The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
Last week we looked at the framework for the season. There wasn't space in the column to talk about what to expect when the season opens. September deer activity is a lot different than November deer activity. If you have trail cameras out or if you have been scouting, you probably have seen bachelor groups of bucks co-existing together. That will change pretty quickly as we progress into the fall. This is caused by rising testosterone levels in bucks as day length and the amount of sunlight diminish. Bucks will tolerate each other for a couple more weeks, but as their testosterone levels rise, their necks begin to swell and they begin to push and shove each other, eventually turning to all out fighting, establishing dominance for the coming rut.
The ritual is ancient; as old as the coming of fall itself and the hunter's urge to head to the woods. If you have noticed a group of bucks on camera or during your scouting, you should hunt that area right away because they are likely to disappear soon. At least some of them will. Bucks spread out and some will not be seen where they have spent the summer with the group of other bucks.
Food sources change. Acorns begin to drop. Crops are harvested. Beans that were a favorite all summer are now dropping leaves.
Grant Woods notes on his “Deer and Deer Hunting” program, that it's a hard to hunt bedding areas in the mornings this time of year as well. Deer feed in the evening and head back to their bedding areas before daylight. It's hard to get close to those areas early in the morning in the early season. Grant suggests hunting bottlenecks in the evenings between bedding areas and food sources.
There is a lot going on in the woods this time of year. It's time to start tuning in to the rhythms of seasons.