The last seven days of the Southwest Oregon Blacktail archery season will certainly come during the peak of the rut as everyone had hoped for. Bucks in the Rogue, Evans Creek, Melrose and Sixes units have kicked their breeding into gear and are actively chasing does in an effort to fulfill their obligations to the next generation.

This activity is gruesomely apparent by the body count on the sides of most roadways. During a drive on Thanksgiving weekend, the ratio of bucks-to-does of vehicle-killed deer, was 70% antlered animals. In one relatively short section of roadway in the Rogue unit, seven bucks ranging from spikes to "wallhangers" had been upended by cars as they jumped the asphalt on the breeze of a hot doe. Several were "daylight" hits, giving an indication as to the strength of the bucks' desire to mate.

Rattling is once again proving extremely effective for drawing the bucks in to the hunter. All sizes of bucks are responding to the sounds of fake fighting. Many are coming in by stealth, while the more dominant bucks of an area are hotfooting it in with an intent to do battle. Last week’s snow in the higher elevations has finally pushed the monster bucks down with the rest of the herds, which migrated over the past month. Hunters have been cutting tags on some impressive racks!

The drainages of Salt Creek and Lake Creek off Highway 140 in the Rogue Unit are hot spots to home-in-on for excellent odds of getting a buck. Prime hunting will continue through the season’s end on December 5th.

The units of Alsea, McKenzie, Santiam, Suislaw, Stott Mt. and Willamette continue to be open for archery blacktails until December 12th. However, due to their location, hunters may find hunting still good, but definitely on the backside of the rut.

Whether you are hunting the north state or the south, foul weather is sure to accompany the last weeks of this season. So be prepared with protective clothing and never put yourself into a situation where hypothermia could put an end to your hunting season—for good!

THINK A GOOD THOUGHT! Frank Medicine Wolf Springer

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