How To

Whitetail Wednesday: Peak of the Rut

-
Joe Hall from Delaware recently shared a Facebook photo with the author of a rutting buck his daughter shot recently during a special youth-only hunt. This was her first deer and she lured him into range with a Messenger grunt call from Hook’s Custom Calls.

Joe Hall from Delaware recently shared a Facebook photo with the author of a rutting buck his daughter shot recently during a special youth-only hunt. This was her first deer and she lured him into range with a Messenger grunt call from Hook’s Custom Calls.

Lots of my friends save their vacation days to hunt during the peak of the rut. This seems like a great plan. However, without a good strategy to hunt this portion of the rut, it’s easy to eat tag soup.

To be certain we are all talking about the same portion of the rut, I define the peak as when the largest percentage of does are receptive. When the biggest percentage of does are receptive, most bucks can find a mate. And a buck will tend a hot doe for approximately 24-36 hours.

After the dance with that mate is over, the bucks will seek another receptive doe. During this period, bucks typically move less compared to the pre-rut, when only a small percentage of does are receptive. When only a few does are receptive, most bucks will be seeking.

This is why I hunt general travel corridors and feeding areas during the pre-rut. However, during the peak of the rut, I prefer hunting travel areas that offer cover and are the shortest distance between bedding areas or thick cover.

dsc00315 11-8-16

This rutting buck has found a doe that was bedding in high grass.

It seems a doe gets tired of being scent-checked and harassed by bucks during the peak of the rut. A doe often stays in thick cover during this portion of the breeding cycle, and bucks tend to cruise through or downwind of these areas (see photo above).

I used this strategy last year during the peak of the rut to tag a good-size buck! I had placed a Summit ladder stand on the edge of a utility right-of-way that faced south. During previous years, I’d cut cedar trees and created thick bedding areas on both sides of the right-of-way.

The stand was located near the top of the ridge, and it sloped down to a creek. I could approach the stand from the east along the ridgetop. When there was a south wind, I could approach the stand with almost no chance of being detected by deer that were using either of the two bedding areas on the south slope.

I got in the stand about 3 p.m. and within 15 minutes had tagged one of the better bucks in the area.

You can watch this hunt and learn more details by watching the video below.

Enjoy creation!






Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.