One of the key rut markers was showing up on camera again last week: Fawns like this doe continued to show up on food sources with no mama in site. A fawn up and about without doe supervision usually signifies the doe being locked down and breeding with a buck. The time a doe is locked down with bucks varies widely. We have witnessed bucks breed does and walk away, on the other hand, we have seen bucks tend does for a couple of days.
Now that we are most of the way through the breeding period, doe groups are starting to reform in social gathering areas like food plots. It’s been about two weeks since we photographed four adult does together feeding like this. Young bucks continue to pester doe groups but the overall pressure from bucks is dropping daily. Expect to find does returning in mass to food plots over the next week.
Young bucks like this yearling were up and on their feet all last week. This buck was photographed about five times a day over three different camera locations spread out over a 50-acre area. In this case, he was photographed alone scent checking the tracks of does that had been feeding in the plot over night.
These 2.5-year-old bucks had a run in on camera last week. The buck on the left in the fist picture has dark tarsal staining and has been very active over the last couple of weeks. He has been rutting heavily this fall. As a matter of fact, we watched him make a series of scrapes and rubs a few days before this photo was taken. The other 8 pt is new to our camera survey. The fight was quick, only lasting about fifteen seconds.
We witnessed bucks continuing to work hard searching for receptive does last week. This young buck had been marching hard and was panting when he was photographed. Bucks are spending a tremendous amount of energy right now. It’s not uncommon for bucks to lose 20-30% of their body weight during the course of the rut.

Check out these trail camera photos from last week and plan your hunt for this weekend accordingly.