By Mark Kenyon
Things are about ready to pop and I am pumped. Absolutely pumped. So with adrenaline still coursing through my veins from last night’s hunt, I thought I’d share some interesting updates from the field AND discuss thoughts on the upcoming week.
This Week’s Hunts
So, most recently, I hunted this past Thursday and Sunday evenings and based on what I’m seeing, we are just about into the good stuff.
Thursday was warmer than I was hoping for and I didn’t see much til just before dark. At that point it was just a bunch of does feeding. But last night things looked very different.
For an hour before dark I saw almost non-stop chasing of does by young bucks back in the bedding areas. And then right at last light (after having just shot a nice doe), one of my top bucks on this farm stepped out of the cover into my food plot.
This was a dandy three year old eight pointer, who at the beginning of the season was at the top of my hit-list (see photo below). But now that I’ve already killed one Michigan buck on this property, I decided to let this guy go for the year and hope that he makes it til 2016. He will be an absolute Michigan stud if he makes it – fingers crossed.
So with that said, I simply watched this gorgeous buck feed in my Whitetail Institute Oats for 10-20 minutes. This isn’t the kind of thing I see very often in Michigan, so it really was a treat.
Finally, after a good bit of feeding, he all of a sudden got very interested in some does on the other side of the field. And from there, for another 10 minutes or so, he chased every doe he could get his eyes on. While the does obviously weren’t having it, he certainly was ready to rock. And with that being the case, it’s got me thinking that we might not be too far from things breaking free.
What To Expect This Week
I wasn’t surprised by the young bucks chasing last night, but I don’t often see Michigan three year olds getting up and going this early. That said, I can’t help but wonder if there might be something to the moon predictions that Charles Alsheimer made for this year – in which he stated that we’d start seeing more rutting behavior than usual right around the 24th or 25th of October. I’m not ready to make any conclusions – but my experience last night certainly fell in line with what he predicted. Intriguing if nothing else.
That said, I do believe that in the next 7 days or so, we’ll start seeing some does coming into estrous and the chaos will begin from there. The key for hunters, I believe, will be how the weather impacts the daylight activity over this next week/week and a half.
From what I’m seeing in my three hunting spots (Michigan, Ohio, Iowa), we’re going to have a nice cold spell towards the mid/later part of this week (Wed/Thur/Fri – depending on where you’re at), and this could definitely bring some great action. Late October + cold front almost always equals great activity.
On the flip side, as we move into early November, unfortunately the weather is going the other direction and getting warm. Across much of the Midwest, it’s looking like the first week of November could be seeing highs in the 60’s. Definitely not ideal. None-the-less, even with warmer than desired temps, the rut will be on. With those warmer temperatures in the afternoons, I’m expecting the best hunting to be in the mornings, when we’ll still have temps down in the 30s or 40s.
So given all of this, I’m thinking of heading down to Ohio for a couple days at the end of this week to try and catch that cold front. And then I’ll be headed to Iowa for my big rut trip on the 31st. The plan is to stay there about seven days, hopefully fill my tag. And then head back to Ohio (if needed) for the second week of November.
While I can’t claim to know much – I can at least say this. Things are about to get exciting! So get out there when you can, and good luck.