Successful deer hunting involves a lot of upfront work, and should include an attempt to predict the rut.
Everyone knows the annual deer rut coincides with some of the best hunting opportunities all year.
Bucks are busy with other things, namely females, on their minds, and they are constantly on the move. This gives hunters who do their homework a great chance at tagging the trophy they’ve been after.
Speaking of the Rut...
But when does the rut happen? Hunters ask that question every year.
The timing is dependent on your location, weather patterns, and climate, among other things. But there is an easy to understand formula that can help guide you to the general timeframe that the rut will occur.
There’s one catch: you needed to have done some spring and pre-summer work already. Scouting your hunting property is vital, and if you were out scouting for most of the year, you likely noticed when fawns first began to arrive behind their mothers.
If you can think back to the date on which you saw your first doe, or when they became a constant in the herds you observed, you’re one step closer to estimating this year’s rut.
On average, the gestation period for whitetail deer is 200. days. Counting backwards from the date you first saw a fawn 200 days, you’ll end up on or very near the date of conception.
That date of conception, obviously, happened during the rut, so you can zero in on the general period for which your deer herds are likely to let their guard down and give you the shooting opportunity you want.
RELATED: Tips for Quiet Movement in the Woods
In Northern regions of the US, this formula works out pretty well, because for fawns to survive, they need to be born within a certain window based on weather and available food. In the South, it’s slightly more difficult to narrow down the dates. Ruts in Southern states can occur haphazardly throughout the fall and winter, and even extend into the new year on occasion.
But knowing when your herd has its first fawns can give you a leg up in the rut prediction business, and ideally line you up to harvest the buck of your dreams.
What other techniques have you used or heard of that helps hunters predict the rut?