Jake Grages of Daybreak Ranch provides a whitetail rut update for South Dakota.
Location: central South Dakota
Rut stage: end of summer pattern
Current buck movement: 3/10
Projected buck movement: 7/10
Almost all bucks have shed their velvet of the last few weeks and are shifting from their summer range to fall range. The loss of velvet, dissolving of bachelor groups, and maturing of crops all at the same time has really thrown deer for a loop. A good example of this is that I have some new bucks showing up on camera in places that I haven't seen a buck all summer.
Deer movement was slow this last weekend. Does were exiting cover shortly before sunset and mature bucks were moving even later. However, I have seen some deer act on what is almost like their version of cabin fever. It's especially common this time of year when vegetation is so overwhelming, and is something I've witnessed many times. Deer will get out of bed, move a short distance, feed a little bit, and then bed down again until dark.
If you're lucky enough to have a buck pegged or get a new one showing up, I'd hunt close to heavy cover. A good example is a waterhole inside a sunflower field or a patch of CRP among standing corn. You can catch those deer feeling very comfortable and moving early in the evening.
I expect deer movement to really slow down this weekend. Temps are supposed to be in the 90s everyday, and I imagine it'll be hard to find deer on their feet outside of that last bit of daylight. There is a cold front coming on Monday, though, with highs that'll drop by 20 degrees. Deer movement should be steady early in the week.