The rut is officially in full swing. Depending on what part of the country you’re in, bucks should either be seeking does, cruising for does, or even locked down with them right now. There are a lot of things you should be thinking about when it comes to hunting the rut, but in this blog post I wanted to detail three things that I pay particular attention to, and how they can help you be successful.
The first thing that I wanted to touch on was weather. The weather during the rut can have a significant impact on how much daylight activity you see. The rut happens pretty much at the same time every year, but if it’s warm, a lot of that “rutting” activity will occur during nightfall. When I’m looking to take vacation time, I base it all on weather. This obviously can be dependent on how far in advance you’ve got to put in for vacation, but if it all possible, just like any other time of the year, a well-timed cold front could turn a switch and deer movement could go from nonexistent to great. In fact, check out a past blog post where we analyzed Quiver data and saw a spike in deer movement due to a cold front moving through.
Something that gets lost among deer hunters during the rut is that does are the ones that actually drive the rut. If you’ve got an area that is hard pressed to find a doe, why would a buck want to spend time there during the one time of the year they can breed? Even if I’m targeting one specific buck, a lot of my attention is spent in and around known doe bedding areas. If you can get on the downwind side of a doe bedding area, and set up in a spot where bucks are apt to be cruising that downwind side checking for hot does, that could be a good place to set up.
This time of the year, if a buck isn’t with a doe, there’s a good chance he’s going from one doe bedding area to the next. Mature bucks especially know exactly where does bed, and they’ll cruise from one to the next in search of that next hot doe. If you have identified a couple different doe bedding areas, being able to get set up in some type of funnel or pinch point in between those bedding areas could pay off. I can think of a stand that falls into this category that I’ll be perched in all day this weekend. You never know what time of day you may catch a buck on his feet hunting a setup like this.
Time Spent in The Stand
When it really comes down to it, spending time in a tree is what will determine if you’re successful or not, especially during the rut. It’s a simple concept right? You can’t kill them from the couch. Yes, I understand at certain times of the year, if the conditions aren’t right, you don’t want to go storming in to certain spots with the wrong conditions and mess everything up, but November is a different ballgame. You still want to be aware of the conditions and such, but anything can happen at any time. Even if you only have an hour after work, slip into a stand somewhere because you never know what will happen. A lot of the rut is simply being in the right place at the right time. Take advantage of any time you have to be out there.
There are countless other things to be thinking about when hunting the rut. From calling to decoying, hunting water, etc. I’m sure I could fill up page upon page. But with that said, these three things that are outlined are especially important. The rut can be one of the best times to put down a mature buck. Keep these three things in mind, and you’ll only help your chances of success.
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