Oh Deer! Whitetail Season is Underway

Deer season is underway and many Pennsylvania hunters have already hit the woods. Some starting out with great success, others, well, not so much.

But don’t fret, there is much more excitement to come. The early season may be one of the best times to harvest a mature whitetail, but the whitetail rut is a very popular holiday for some.

The rut is a time period in which the activity of the bucks is at its peak. Anywhere from the fall equinox to late December, the does could go into heat, and the chase begins.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commision, the breeding season ideally should be short and properly timed. This gives fawns the greatest advantage of survival with abundant food for lactating does and plenty of time for fawns to fatten up before winter arrives.

The early season may be one of the best times to harvest a mature whitetail, but the whitetail rut is a very popular holiday for some.”

The Quality Deer Management Association says the does that are bred on time, will put little energy into fetal development until spring. Does put little energy into the fetal development until the final stages of the pregnancy.

During the winter, food is not as plentiful. So if does had to consume extra food for fetal development during the winter, there would more than likely be a low rate of fawn and doe survival.

According to Drury Outdoors, Bucks are desperately seeking the last few does in heat around  November 16-19.

This small time frame is one of the best times to use calls and doe in estrus scent. Any bucks that are cruising the area and catch the scent will be headed your way to check for does.

After the peak of the rut has passed, many of the buck that had been chasing does, and are depleted of all their energy. So hunting the food sources and bedding areas is crucial.

In the early parts of archery season, try to stay out of the best spots. And scouting is crucial, deer move in different patterns in early season.

Earlier in the season deer will stay bedded down for longer periods of time due to higher temperatures and simply no need to get up and waste energy. The only reason for them to get up would be to go to food/water sources.

Scouting is important for early season hunting. The best way to hunt deer in early season is to find the heavily used trails between bedding areas and food/water sources. This way you could intercept the deer on its way to or from its bedding area.

During mid-season, the rut should be in, and the temperatures should have dropped from earlier in the season. This means that deer will be a lot more active.

The bucks by this time will be seeking for does in heat. So if you have previously found spots with lots of does, this would be the time to hunt them. If the does are there, then the bucks will follow during the rut.

This is the time of year to hit the best hunting spots. The mature bucks are not as careful during the rut. Therefore, hunting the mature buck that normally comes out after dark, has suddenly become easier.

After the rut, the bucks are scarce. Most of the bucks are tired from chasing does, and they need to replenish lost nutrition. This is another good time for hunting bedding areas, but don’t get frustrated, Most of the bucks will be coming out after dark. So, the long sits and countless hours will eventually pay off.

And if not, there is always next year.