Throughout much of the whitetail’s range, the chase phase of the rut is currently in full swing. This is a time when some does are receptive, and bucks are often active during daylight seeking and chasing receptive does.
Following the peak of the chase phase is the lock down phase. This occurs when several does are receptive, so bucks don’t have to travel far or seek much to find a receptive doe. When a buck finds a receptive doe, he often spends 24 to 36 hours tending that doe and attempting to keep other bucks from getting to her.
A mature doe apparently doesn’t want to be harassed by several bucks, and doesn’t want rowdy bucks around her fawns. Many researchers, including myself, believe this is why a mature doe often goes to a portion of her home range, or even leaves her home range when she is receptive.
A receptive doe often uses thick cover as an effort to hide from rowdy bucks. During the lock down phase, I like to hunt in areas overlooking thick cover. This thick cover is often the preferred habitat type where a receptive doe will be, and therefore mature bucks will either be “locked down” with a doe or seeking receptive does in this type of cover.
I scout for thick cover that’s 4 feet tall or shorter so I can see into it, but deer still feel secure. This includes stands of native grass, young Christmas tree farms, etc. I prefer this type of cover on a hill side because I can see in much better than similar cover on flat land.
Scout for places with thick cover that allow you a view and be ready for the lock down rut phase.
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Image by Dr. Grant Woods