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Just curious if anyone else had a really slow November? I was seeing lots of deer and even some good buck activity up until Oct 19th. Then like someone flipped a switch they disappeared and even sightings on my cameras (over 10) went very cold. I hunted the rut hard, and took all but 2 days off from Halloween on (sitting am and pm). I only saw 1 legal buck and it was a big 6 point, when in years past you'd always see good bucks. Even if they were 150 yards away cruising.

My question is did anyone else notice that with the abundance of people in the woods for early deer/bear muzzleloader, and the youth/senior rifle seasons, all of the activity almost shutdown?
 

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It was a weird season for me. We had absolutely zero acorns, which had the deer on some really strange patterns. I hunt the mountains of Central PA and judging by the unusually high amount of deer I was seeing down in the valleys, it seems a lot of them migrated down to ag and corn, which makes a lot of sense.

What was left up high on public were deer concentrated on the best browse they could find, and that was not very easy to hunt. Certainly it's easier to key in on oaks. Eventually I keyed in on one specific area and started to put things together and found some bucks cruising doe bedding and finally got a nice one doing that.

A lot of the traditional doe bedding though, was just completely devoid of does this year, so of course the bucks aren't going to cruise there. Just had to adapt to the conditions. The buck sign seemed a couple weeks behind all season too.

It'll be interesting to see how that plays out for rifle season as the bear drives next week start to shift deer around, then rifle season itself.

I'm not really sure what to think about the muzzleloader seasons. I don't think it had a big effect on many of my areas, but certainly looking at how many bears were killed, there were areas that were driven pretty heavily which really would have messed up archery hunting for those specific areas. Statewide, I'd say not a huge effect, but localized it certainly wrecks some areas.

This is not meant to be any kind of political statement, but since crossbows came into play, the most trucks I see parked all year, including rifle season, is the first week of November. There is a ton of pressure in the woods that whole week anymore. Growing up that was like "the" week but I think to adapt you have to factor in just how crazy the pressure is that week anymore.
 

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I don’t think any of the other seasons really had much of a effect on deer movement in my area. Most of my hunting was done on public land that gets a decent amount of pressure. Only had one real rut crazed day where the bucks were cruising and chasing all over the place. That was the day after Halloween. Don’t really know what to make of it other than it felt like the bigger bucks were on lock down every time I went out. Lots of fawns by themselves or I would have a bunch of doe around me without a buck in sight. Strange year for me.
 

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Worst archery season I ever had. Same thing where I hunt. It’s like they all climbed down some groundhog holes. Had last 4 days off and seen maybe 5 deer, I’m not sure what was going on. Didn’t even see a buck...
 

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Worst archery season for me as well here in 4D. No acorns on top of the ridge/mountain, and no deer on cameras as well. Drove past fields with tons of deer at the bottom of the mountain 1/2 mile away. Only deer seen on top were in a game field that you never saw deer in during daylight in most years past. Had to hunt valley/farm land to see any deer.
 

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It was slow up in our neck of the woods (NEPA) until the last week. Then it picked up real fast. We have tons of oaks in our area and a heavy acorn crop, so it was tough to pattern them - they didn't need to move much to find food.
 

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in my area of 2D, I'd consider it to have been slow as well. From Oct. 31st thru the end of the season I had 9 stand sits and two days where I still hunted in the snow. Although I had a lot of deer sightings and saw at least one buck on every sit, I saw very minimal actual rutting activity. Only two times did I see actual chasing and they were brief chases. Peak days seemed to be Nov 1st, Nov 6th, and also the 13th. On the Nov. 1st I saw actual chasing and really good buck activity in the evening. On the 6th I saw really good buck activity on my morning hunt. My trail camera also showed great buck activity on a scrape on the 6th with 4 different bucks hitting the scrape that day, during the daylight. And the 13th was after a few inches of snow. I hunted that day from 10AM - 2:30pm, saw probably 30 deer, 5 different bucks as well. I was able to grunt in two different small bucks and I spotted the two biggest bucks on the property just casually being with a doe. Overall I cannot complain as I had multiple deer within bow range almost every hunt, I just wasn't able to get everything to come together to kill what I consider to be a decent buck. I had two really good opportunities that I wish I could have done differently, and two more close calls.
 

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The last 3 days is when it was happening in my neck of the woods. First week of November was a bust. Nothing on cams. The doe that were seen that week had nothing harassing them.
I’ve set more days on this property this year without seeing deer then the previous 3 years combined. It was a different year for sure. As others have stated deer seemed low.
 

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I hunt on private ground and it seemed the chasing activity was very slow. I would hunt mostly afternoons into evenings over food plots and hunted 8 evening the last two weeks of archery. Every evening 6-9 mature doe; 4-6 little ones and a handful of smaller bucks would come out. Didn’t observe any hard chasing or rutting activity. Only had one shooter on cam and he would make his appearance every couple of nights in the darkness
 

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All im seeing are does and small bucks. I am seeing alot of does. Ive only seen 1 buck id consider shooting but i was at work and it was on the move chasing a doe so i didnt get a good look at it.
 

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For me, it was mediocre. I was provided with 4 opportunities to shoot a mature buck and I simply did not execute. With that said, in terms of deer movement, November 1st-8th was spotty. November 9th-12th was blazing hot where I hunt.

Obviously the rut is relative to when the majority of mature doe's are coming into estrus and you're position relevant to that during their movement during that 24-36 hour period. For me, I was in the right place at the right time from the 9th-12th. For all I know, I missed by only a few hundred yards from the 1st-8th based on my location...

OR

You decide not to hunt the doe's and focus on historical rut cruising lines and funnels which can be sporadic in offering you a mature buck sighting. This year I focused on hunting the doe's and not the historical rut buck movement patterns. I feel that this year I saw more mature bucks than prior years but not that one buck that made me say WOW.

Next year, I am going to hunt a mixture of both which in theory will give me an opportunity on a mature buck when I hunt the doe's and afford me a sighting of a potentially larger dominant buck that is cruising the historic rut funnels and cruising lines.

I like to see deer which is why I hunt the doe's. I might hunt the historic rut cruising areas and that big buck I am looking for may only move through there once every 3 days or so which means I could sit there 5 days (ALL DAY) and only have 2-3 sightings at best.
 

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Does anybody remember one of the highlights coming from Alt when AR/HR was being talked about was that is would make for a much more intense rut? Well, I have hunted the rut since the season was extended into November. It is my opinion that rutting behavior was much higher prior to AR/HR. Anybody else have experiences to share on rut intensity pre AR/HR compared to presently?
 

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I think it’s slower. One of the problems in my area is I think the buck to doe ratio is way out of wack. Seems like there are far too many doe and the bucks don’t have to look very far to find one in heat.
I agree its slower. Going by what you just said, wasnt the buck and doe out of whack before AR/HR so wouldnt it be the same or slower? There were way more deer then than there is now. Just trying to understand how the rut was better prior to AR/HR with more doe. I used to see lots of action on consecutive days and now i am lucky to see 1 day or any action and i spend a lot of time in the woods from Oct 30 until the last day of archery. My best day in the last 10 years was probably 7-8 years ago and i saw 11 different buck by 08:30 but not one was legal and some of those could have been repeats but did not see a single doe but she or them had to be somewhere for all the buck i saw. They were running like mad.
 

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It was a very slow year in my area of 4D as well...saw plenty of doe out feeding, and single bucks out feeding when I saw them...not any chasing or cruising this year...it was very strange, but then you talk to the next guy who hunts 30 minutes from you and his crew shoots multiple bucks and it was the best chasing and rutting they've experienced in years...my guess is that if the does aren't coming into to heat then the bucks won't be cruising...that's just my opinion though.
 

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I agree its slower. Going by what you just said, wasnt the buck and doe out of whack before AR/HR so wouldnt it be the same or slower? There were way more deer then than there is now. Just trying to understand how the rut was better prior to AR/HR with more doe. I used to see lots of action on consecutive days and now i am lucky to see 1 day or any action and i spend a lot of time in the woods from Oct 30 until the last day of archery. My best day in the last 10 years was probably 7-8 years ago and i saw 11 different buck by 08:30 but not one was legal and some of those could have been repeats but did not see a single doe but she or them had to be somewhere for all the buck i saw. They were running like mad.
I am seeing more doe today than I ever have. Not really sure why that is. Maybe the drop in rifle participation and guys don’t hunt like they use to. I remember the three day doe season being a slaughter in my area. You would have almost just as many guys as opening day of buck and they would be driving deer all day long. Now the only ones I ever see doing deer drives are me and my group which only consists of three or five guys at the most and we only do it for buck. Archery pressure was way down in my area to this season. Hardly any vehicles in the parking lot and only ran into one other bow hunter the entire season. To top it off he was only hunting 50 yards off a popular walking/biking trail and stood out plan as day. My predictions for this rifle season is that particular area will be packed the first day and the first day doe comes in and not much pressure other than that. The majority of hunters out there will most likely be posting and a lot of the deer will just stay in the really thick cover until the season is over.
 

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I am seeing more doe today than I ever have. Not really sure why that is. Maybe the drop in rifle participation and guys don’t hunt like they use to. I remember the three day doe season being a slaughter in my area. You would have almost just as many guys as opening day of buck and they would be driving deer all day long. Now the only ones I ever see doing deer drives are me and my group which only consists of three or five guys at the most and we only do it for buck. Archery pressure was way down in my area to this season. Hardly any vehicles in the parking lot and only ran into one other bow hunter the entire season. To top it off he was only hunting 50 yards off a popular walking/biking trail and stood out plan as day. My predictions for this rifle season is that particular area will be packed the first day and the first day doe comes in and not much pressure other than that. The majority of hunters out there will most likely be posting and a lot of the deer will just stay in the really thick cover until the season is over.
The farm i hunt that is close to 1000 acres and there is probably 7 that archery hunt it and between 10-15 guys that rifle hunt that property and they are strictly buck only and none of them buy a doe tag other than me but there is not an overly abundance of doe on this property. To be honest i have not seen a deer drive in years and if i do see a hunter they might get 100yards from their truck and pot sit so deer are not getting pushed like they used to be. I know we have always had bear season leading up to rifle but i still think thank saves a lot of deer and with how hunters hunt now and not pushing deer they just lay in their beds until right before or right after dark. The last few years at camp i seen a couple on the opener but i will see a lot once i leave the parking area and head back to camp. Deer everywhere crossing the road. Same thing when I drive to my spot, deer crossing everywhere before daylight. I will sit the first few hours then i start walking, sometimes 10 miles or more in day and sometimes i find them sometimes i dont but they are in those clear cuts and wont budge unless guys drive them out. The deer are there, the sign is there but when you dont see anyone in the woods they have no reason to move. The last few deer i shot at camp were just feeding on the mountain like it wasnt hunting season. Its quiet on the mountains in the northern tier on opening day.
 

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The farm i hunt that is close to 1000 acres and there is probably 7 that archery hunt it and between 10-15 guys that rifle hunt that property and they are strictly buck only and none of them buy a doe tag other than me but there is not an overly abundance of doe on this property. To be honest i have not seen a deer drive in years and if i do see a hunter they might get 100yards from their truck and pot sit so deer are not getting pushed like they used to be. I know we have always had bear season leading up to rifle but i still think thank saves a lot of deer and with how hunters hunt now and not pushing deer they just lay in their beds until right before or right after dark. The last few years at camp i seen a couple on the opener but i will see a lot once i leave the parking area and head back to camp. Deer everywhere crossing the road. Same thing when I drive to my spot, deer crossing everywhere before daylight. I will sit the first few hours then i start walking, sometimes 10 miles or more in day and sometimes i find them sometimes i dont but they are in those clear cuts and wont budge unless guys drive them out. The deer are there, the sign is there but when you dont see anyone in the woods they have no reason to move. The last few deer i shot at camp were just feeding on the mountain like it wasnt hunting season. Its quiet on the mountains in the northern tier on opening day.
I am heading up north to hunt deer for the first time ever this rifle season. Really looking forward to learning how to hunt a different territory. Especially in a area so remote. I imagine it’s going to take a few years to gain a understanding of where the deer like to go up there and how to hunt them effectively.
 

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Slow for me too in 5B. First time ever I saw more deer in October than in November. I ended up shooting a nice 8 on the 14th, but that was only the first or second deer I saw in November. I thought the weather was good this year with it being nice and cold, and not too much wind or rain. Could it be the moon or something else to do with the calendar? Last year everything was a week earlier (Thanksgiving, archery season opener and last day).

By the way, I see more guys on public land during muzzleloader than any other time. I don't think that makes much of a difference where I hunt, but that seems to draw the pressure.
 

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I am heading up north to hunt deer for the first time ever this rifle season. Really looking forward to learning how to hunt a different territory. Especially in a area so remote. I imagine it’s going to take a few years to gain a understanding of where the deer like to go up there and how to hunt them effectively.
If my memory serves me right i think you said before you will be in elk county right? There is a lot of deer up there just not many hunters, you should go up the second Thursday until Saturday. My brother and his friends go up to their friends camp not sure where at in elk county, but its state forest land, and drive all 3 days. I think they killed between 11-17 in those 3 days last year. The year before the same result. Good luck to you. It is definitely more challenging in the big woods. Been hunting up in Potter 28 years and i still dont have it figured out lol Doesnt help having kids and their sports and i cant get up there like i used to to scout.
 
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