The nights are cooler and crisper and the days are growing short, a sure sign that hunting season is on its way. It’s time to get ready because before you know it, whitetail season will be upon us. Best of all, the deer are getting ready, as well. If you have checked your game cameras lately, you probably noticed that many of the bucks have gone “hard-horned”. It happens every year around this time; the velvet peels off and hard new antlers show up.

Now before you get all depressed because the antlers have stopped growing on that buck you have been watching, relax! They probably haven’t grown for a month; whitetail antler growth has been over for a month, velvet is being peeled, and antlers are being rubbed and shined-up. It’s all driven by what the deer scientists call photoperiodism, or in “hunter speak,” the length of days (shorter) and nights (longer). No, deer don’t can’t tell time but a gland on their foreheads (pituitary) senses the change in the light, which triggers a chemical reaction in their systems, which results in all kinds of changes. They start making scrapes, rubbing antlers, feeding more, and becoming more aggressive. Their coats change from thin summer red to fall and winter hollow gray. The change is on, and the rut will be on before you know it.

Speaking of the rut, the Hunting Page rut trackers are out in force, and later this month our world-famous “Rut Reports” will start showing up on Facebook. As usual, we will be issuing them weekly-bi-weekly depending on the intensity of the rut. Be sure to stay tuned, look for the report on Facebook, and be sure to check out our informative whitetail hunting articles as on our website at

So grab your guns and bows, and head out to the range if you have not already done so. It’s time to hit the woods to check those stands, and while you are at it, check those deer cameras and get a thousand other things ready for the fall hunting season.