Whitetail Report

Neil and Craig Dougherty of North Country Whitetails compiled this report from field observations and strategically placed trail camera photos taken on their two properties (700 acres) in upstate New York. They have been documenting hunting season deer behavior for over 20 years and update their field reports weekly. Previous reports can be found at northcountrywhitetails.com We entered the week with high expectations. Last week's report documented a ramping up of buck activity and we were ready to put on the full court press. Despite a slightly "slow" start to things, (warm weather) week No. 5 met and even exceeded expectations.Outdoor Life Online Editor
We observed a number of older age bucks standing over bedded does often with with three or four "lesser" bucks in attendance. We observed glassy-eyed bucks licking doe flanks and witnessed aggressive "I'll-have-my-way-with-you," head high, full sprint chases by branch-antlered bucks. We didn't see the number of wandering bucks we saw during the earlier week but most of the bucks we did see were all business and by week's end pretty well locked down with does and not covering a lot of ground.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Some does began to come back to the food plots and the re-establishment of family units. Bucks weren't working the plots as hard as the last few weeks and some does seemed to be relaxing a bit. The does were still working the clover plots and corn but we saw more and more browsing in wooded areas and in brush.Outdoor Life Online Editor
This week, we counted 96 does and fawns and 39 bucks from stands in 55 hours of hunting. This represented an increase in deer seen per hour from last week. The increase is mostly due to increased use of food plots by does. Buck sightings per hour stayed on par with last week, but buck sightings were less constant per hour. That is we had more "buckless" hours this week than last, but did observe three to five bucks at a time with hot does.Outdoor Life Online Editor
We photographed 13 more unique bucks bringing our total to 47 unique bucks for the season. The new bucks photographed were: eight yearlings, four 2 1/2-year olds, and one 3 1/2-year old.Outdoor Life Online Editor
This week we also photographed numerous bucks during midday. This is a marked departure from earlier weeks and supports the notion of hunting midday during the rut.Outdoor Life Online Editor
The plan for the upcoming days is to set up in out of the way areas of dense cover where does and bucks are breeding while keeping an eye on intercept locations like funnels and ridges.Outdoor Life Online Editor
We will also keep a sharp eye on the weather. We have already seen our first snow and the weather man is predicting a hard drop in temps later this week. When temps. drop, carbohydrates become king and the deer are likely to go on a feeding binge. This is especially true as more and more does are bred and both bucks and does are back on their feed.Outdoor Life Online Editor
Carb loading means acorns and corn. The acorns have been cleaned up for a month so we'll be keeping an eye on our cornfields. It might be a bit early, but before long we will be aggressively hunting food sources again as breeding behavior starts to taper off and food once again becomes key.Outdoor Life Online Editor
We'll hunt hard and long this week and be sure to spend plenty of time in the woods. They are hot after it, and you could catch a shooter almost any time of day as he moves from doe to doe or if your really lucky be part of a "breeding party" attended by a half dozen or so bucks. It's time to be out there. One final note, its gun season here in New York which means we'll be hunting low impact and do nothing to harass deer off the property. No motorized vehicles until after dark, no walking around, stillhunting, no chasing young deer off the property to get shot by the neighbors. Hunt quiet and let them filter into the food and cover you worked so hard all year to create. In two weeks time the deer population here will double as pressure from surrounding properties sends them our way.Outdoor Life Online Editor

Take your vacation time now as the whitetail rut screams into Round 2.