Sparring matches like the one photographed here were rare this past week. For the most part, young bucks were the only ones pushing each other around. Now that the breeding period has started, the big boys mean business--no more gentle pushing around. Fights are common this time of the year so don't be afraid to pick up the rattling antlers.
We continued to photograph mature bucks this past week. This three year old was up on his feet walking from food plot to food plot trying to intercept does. It’s the time of feast or famine. This camera went two days without snapping a photo of a deer then this guy walked past. Sit tight and be patient, the big guys are on their feet.
Checking the cameras frequently is critical this time of the year. If you are running cameras this is exactly what you are looking for. Bucks tending does exert a ton of energy and often are photographed panting. See a panting buck like this and you just might want to pick a stand close to where he was photographed. This strategy is best used when the photo is no more than twenty four hours old.
Fast moving, charging bucks were the story last week. The cameras photographed great rutting action all week, bucks like this one were frequently seen running does off of plots. His tail is out and high, from the look of things he is all jazzed up and in pursuit of a doe.
Tarsal staining continued to get darker this week on active bucks. This two year old was starting so show some staining below his tarsal glands. Frequent rub urination will not only darken the tarsal glands but often the leg below the gland. Broken tines and dark tarsals show an aggressive buck, grunting, snort-wheeze or other calls will often bring a buck like this in for a shot.
Doe fawns stick close to their mothers. You know breeding has started when you start to see doe fawns like this one walking without mamas supervision. When a buck is tending a doe he typically will run off all other deer including fawns. Doe fawns usually will stay as close as possible to mama. Watch a doe fawn like this one and she just might lead you to her mother and a rutting buck.
The breeding portion of the rut takes its toll on all deer. No longer are does feeding contently in food plots. Constant harassment by bucks has made doe groups like this one skittish. If your bumping deer more than ever while walking to your stand keep in mind deer are on high alert, they will relax in another week or two.
New bucks like this old stud continued to show up on camera last week. You just never know what might show up when hunting this time of the year. In another couple weeks bucks will start to drift back to their home territory. We don’t expect to photograph many new bucks once that happens.

Use these trail camera photos taken last week by whitetail experts Craig and Neil Dougherty and their contacts across the country to pattern the deer where you hunt.