During the rut, the afternoon just might be your best chance at taking a mature buck.
When rut comes in full swing, buck action can oftentimes be fast and furious. It seems that just about every doe that is wandering a field or forest has a buck of differing sizes trailing close behind. Doe activity reaches its highest level during the morning and evenings, since that is when they leave their beds and look for food.
When rut comes in full swing, focusing on where the does go outside of those hot times can give you your best opportunity at finding a large buck. Midday set ups for these afternoon bruisers aren't so difficult to figure out. It's all about being in the right place at the right time.
Location, Location, Location
The first midday set up for the rut to focus on should be to find a location on or near your property where the does go during the afternoon, because bucks will be there too. Mature bucks will be hanging back in thicker cover away from those areas trying to catch the scent of any does that might be coming into estrus.
Most often, look for a food plot or food source with that nice thick cover near by. If you have a climber, find a tree that is about 100 yards away from that bedding/eating area on the downwind side. Older, wiser bucks will stay hidden in the wood-line, passing by that area just trying to catch the smell they are looking for. This should put them closer to your stand, leaving you still undetected.
Another nice midday set up for the rut is to focus on travel corridors. Find a path between bedding areas or open areas where does are found in the morning and evenings and then don't move from that location.
As does are supposed to be in their normal spots in the mornings, you should already be on a trail or low area they may take to get back to that bedding area. Mature bucks will travel these same paths as they are looking for does.
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Speaking of travel corridors, pinch points connecting larger areas of cover can be very good during the rut. Since we know bucks are focusing on does, does travel these paths for cover during the afternoon as they leave one area and go to the next.
Mature bucks tend to know this as well, as they will oftentimes bed down near these pinch points and simply wait for does to come to them. This is where you will find a large buck hanging out in a ditch or bedded down in a small group of trees on a fence line. You just have to get to your set up before he does.
No matter where you put your set up in during the midday, just make sure you are focusing on doe activity and not so much the bucks. Bucks will come if you can find the does.