A time that felt like it would never come is now finally here; welcome to the 2015 rut.
With the month of October behind us, we turn our attention to one of the most anticipated months for deer hunting: November.
Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling and bucks are starting to get crazy searching for hot does every chance they get. Now is the time to pull out all of the stops and focus on putting a big buck on the ground.
Whether you’re bowhunting from a treestand or have loaded up your favorite deer gun and are sitting with your back against an oak tree, throwing every trick you can at bucks during this month can land you an extremely rewarding result.
As the saying goes, “You gotta be in it to win it.” Now apply that to hunting during the rut.
Forget about everything that you’ve compiled about patterning bucks from the summer and the early fall because it’s a different ball game now. Food sources are changing and so is what is on every bucks mind. If you can pack up lunch, some snacks and water to make it for an all-day hunt, now is the best time to do so.
Bucks are cruising all times throughout the day looking for the next hot doe in the area to be bred and even middle-of-the-day hunts can be extremely successful. In the event that you can’t sit all day in one shot, try to split the day in thirds and get a hunt in from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., as hunting pressure will be less during this time and the action can be second to none.
As every whitetail hunter knows, weather can make all the difference between an eventful day in the deer woods and a slow day with little to no movement. Though weather can help to get deer back on their feet and moving, it certainly isn’t always this way during the rut.
Don’t discount the fact that the weather might be warmer than it should be; now is the time to be in the woods. Big bucks are focused on breeding and breeding only, weather is almost an afterthought when a hot doe is around.
My biggest buck to date was taken on a day last November that ventured into the low 70s, hardly a fall day in the northeast hardwoods.
Regardless of the scent brand that you stay loyal to, putting out a few extra scent wicks during this month and loading up on doe-in-rut lure, like Tink’s #69, is not a bad idea.
Mature bucks will be constantly scent-checking bottoms, ridges and all areas in between, searching for a glimmer of hope that a hot doe is in that particular zone. Keep in mind that bucks travel several miles each day in search for does, therefore adding another layer of excitement to your hunting location. It might just be enough to pull in a big buck who is just passing through.
Always refresh your scent wicks and place them where they will have the best wind direction.
Speaking of traveling bucks, if you’re hunting in a spot which you’re familiar with, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for deer that you’ve never seen before. The rut is one of the best times to find yourself in the middle of traveling bucks that have come from miles away looking for another hot doe.
Use these occurrences to your advantage and put a ground stalk on a buck that isn’t a regular in your territory. Always be sure to keep your wind direction in mind and go slower than you think to close the distance between you and the deer.
Regardless of the tactics that you use to hunt or the area of the country in which you hunt, getting out and spending as much time hunting during the rut as possible will be beneficial in the end.
Between watching fighting bucks, witnessing a buck pushing a doe through an opening or just taking in another day on stand, hunting the rut is an action-packed time that you won’t want to miss.
Good luck to everyone who’s getting those last few good nights of rest before hitting the rut hard over the rest of the month.