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Whitetail bucks coming out of the closet; rut heads for Nov. 20 peak

A whitetail buck makes advances on a doe during the rut in Western Montana on Nov. 6, 2011. (Jaime Johnson)
A whitetail buck makes advances on a doe during the rut in Western Montana on Nov. 6, 2011. (Jaime Johnson)

DEER HUNTING -- Whitetail bucks are geting on with the rut, chasing does during daylight in some areas despite the bright full-moon phase. Western Montana wildlife photographer Jaime Johnson delivered some proof in the photo above, snapped on Sunday.

He said bucks in his area were on the move and necks on most bucks were clearly swollen.

The activity isn't the same across the board, but no hunters should be going out this week without a plan to do some rattling.

Here are a couple of the latest reports:

Eastern Washington -- "Pictures on my trail camera indicate much more activity during daylight hours," said Nate Krohn, who seriously hunts the eastern Okanogan region. "The majority of the activity seems to be in the early morning. I did notice one area in the snow where it appeared two medium sized bucks were locking horns. It didn’t appear to be very intense, but still a sign of change for the better. All of the decent sized bucks I am getting on my trail camera are still by themselves, but I am guessing that will change soon."

Let's hope so. Washington's late whitetail buck rifle hunt in northeastern Washington ends Nov. 19.

North Idaho -- "Guys in this region are seeing plenty of whitetail rubs," said Tom Anderson, who's been posting more buck photos on the brag board at Big R near Sandpoint. The mule deer rut appears to be peaking right now, and the peak for whitetails usually follows by a week or more.

Idaho whitetail seasons hunts continue into December in some units.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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