HUNTING --This is the week many white-tailed deer hunters have been anticipating. It's the last week of the late season and we're nearing the peak of the rut, when even the biggest bucks lose some of their wariness to be around receptive does.
If you're not finding whitetail bucks foolishly in the rut this week, may I suggest you check another location, perhaps just a drainage away. Whitetail hunters almost everywhere are reporting some sort of rutting activity.
On Sunday in northeastern Washington, Jim Ebel of Colville saw a fork horn with does at 11 a.m. "An hour later, an 18-inch 4 x 4 fed around my stand for 15 minutes completely ignoring traditional scrape areas and showing no signs of rutting behavior. This area is devoid of scrapes -- a few half hearted attempts but nothing like last year."
Ten miles north, it's totally different, he said, suggesting the reason is more a matter of competition among a concentration of bucks:
"The area to the north has landowners feeding deer since the rifle hunting season ended and bucks have been attracted there for quite some time."
Trick to try: Northwestern Montana hunter Ron Nail used an interesting tactic last weekend for sniffing out the presence of bucks.
"On my walk into one of my stands, I had a doe tarsal gland tied on a string, which I dragged along behind, and when I got a few yards from the stand I hung it up from a tree limb," he said.
Two young bucks were lured in at dark. One of the bucks started grunting and made about six laps around the little tree in which Nail had hung the gland.