We knew they were out there. After two mild winters, the region's deer herd had little winter kill. Whitetails have been evident all year long, until a warm fall and big mast crop kept them from moving much.
That all changed last weekend, when the full November "hunter's moon" on Friday night seemed to have the desired effect, spurring bucks into the start of the seasonal rut.
I did some hiking and scouting in Vermont over the weekend, as the rifle season there starts this weekend, and saw quite a few youth hunters out on Saturday morning, and heard a number of shots.
The action was good over this side of the state line as well during Saturday's chilly weather. My neighbor got an 8-pointer on West Mountain in Queensbury early Saturday.
Brooke Nemec, whose family runs Nemec's Sport Shop and Farm and Garden Center, said there were "quite a few deer" checked in for the store's big buck contest in recent days.
"We had seven checked in on Saturday," she said. "The biggest is a 222-pounder."
A real cold snap, with a bit of snow in some areas, is forecast for this weekend. The rut should be in full swing at that point.
-- Don Lehman