Deanoz...I live in Woodbridge, only about 20 min. from you. I hunt Jersey, Somerset and Hunterdon Counties and spend a few days hunting in VA during the muzzloader opener. Acorns are looking good this year and with all the rain we've had, everything was nice and green the whole summer. Funny you noticed that about the rut. My experience was the opposite last year....seemed as if the switch was turned off the beginning of Nov. I had amazing rut action happening in Somerset beginning the 1st-2nd week in October. That's what makes hunting frustratingly fun.....20-50 miles apart and deer show rut signs a month apart.
I hear ya man..it really is frustrating, but fun trying to figure them out. As someone here once said the only ting you can be certain about when it comes to deer and deerhunting is their uncertainty I'll be out opening day, and if I see the buck in the pic above I'm taking him. Come Monday 5 October we'll compare notes...you hunting private or public land? I hunt aboard Earle, good area and semi private.
Bucksnort..good luck to ya man, good idea staying out of the area, hopefully it will pay off for ya.