The rutting season is that wonderful time of year when even the smartest old buck acts like a hooligan on a pub-crawl. He’s on the prowl with nothing on his mind but girls and fighting—and one will suit him just as well as the other.
Still, despite such a reckless attitude, he can often outsmart, out-maneuver, and many times out-luck, any deer hunter. In order to score venison in the freezer and antlers on the wall, you’ve got to even the odds the best you can.
First, figure out what his next move will be, before he even decides what it is. Then, use the right tool to bring him into range and hold him there until the moment you squeeze the trigger.
Here are 10 good ones. Use them wisely and you might just bag the biggest of your life.
The crash of antlers ringing through the woods and over the fields is an invitation that a hot-blooded buck can’t ignore, so it only makes sense to make it sound as genuine as possible. Cabela’s Real Rack Rattling Antlers are actual sheds collected from game farms in Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico, and the noise they produce isn’t just authentic, it’s irresistible.
You can excite a big buck’s urge to conquer during the rut by making him believe that another male has come to challenge, or that a nearby doe is searching for a suitor. The infinitely adjustable Primos Revolver Deer Grunt allows you to switch from mature buck grunting sounds to that of a young buck, or a doe or fawn bleat, as quickly as the situation demands simply by turning a dial.
Once you’ve got that buck on a string, seal the deal by offering a visual target—something his defensive instinct can lock onto. The breeze-activated head and tail bring the Primos Scar decoy to life, making it look like a real interloper. Plus, its detachable head, legs, antlers and ears all fit neatly inside the soft body cavity for quiet transport and assembly.
While you want to appeal to a buck’s eyesight and hearing, you also need to defend against his keen sense of smell. One surefire way is to saturate the area with a cloud of odor-reducing ozone. Ozonics’ lightweight HR-200 Scent Eliminator silently disperses small concentrations of ozone that effectively tamp down human odors in the air. And whether you hunt on the ground or from a tree, it doesn’t matter; the proven odor-reducer will help you remain undetected by wary animals.
Savvy deer hunters know that odor management begins well before you leave the house. And the Scent Killer Gold Kit from Wildlife Research Center contains everything you need to get it done—scent-free laundry detergent without UV brighteners, a bar of anti-odor body soap, an antiperspirant and deodorant stick to block foul body odors, plus a spray bottle of Scent Killer liquid for pre-hunt application. Don’t let that buck smell you before you see him.
You know about tools for defeating a buck’s nose; here’s one that will lure him in close. The Magnum Scrape-Dripper is the ultimate scrape and dispersal device combo. It keeps your scrape fresh, dripping only during the day to convince a buck that a doe favors the spot during legal hunting hours. It can operate for up to 2 to 3 weeks on 4 ounces of scent, so you can virtually fill it and forget it. Until that buck-of-a-lifetime shows up, that is.
No hunting tool in your day pack can do you any good if your outerwear won’t let you sit or stalk comfortably—and silently. A revolutionary blend of wool and Berber fleece creates a fabric that possesses the best qualities of both. The Cabela’s Outfitter’s Wooltimate Jacket, in exclusive Outfitter Camo or O2 Octane camo patterns, also features a 4MOST WINDSHEAR lining for additional protection from the elements. Plus, the zippered hand-warmer pockets, elastic cuffs and draw-cord waist keep you snug so you can wait out that buck, no matter how long it takes.
Like the Wooltimate Jacket, these lightweight hunting pants will keep you comfortable, without the need for cumbersome layers of clothing. Cabela’s describes it as “Warm stealth, without the bulk.” Six pockets (two front, two back and two side cargo) keep small items handy, while knee-length zippers on the legs make for easy on-and-off.
Treat your feet to 800-gram Thinsulate Ultra insulation and waterproofing by Gore-Tex. There’s only one more thing a deer hunter needs from his boots—durability! Well, every feature on this footwear has been tested to ensure they’ll withstand all the abuse you can dish out season after season. Whether your hunting style involves long stalks or short walks, Iron Ridge boots will get you there and back, in comfort.
When you’re hunting for an old woods-wise whitetail, nothing helps level the playing field better than good optics. The specially coated lenses and roof prism in Cabela’s Intensity HD Binoculars enhance resolution, preserve natural image colors, and cut glare for brighter image quality in hazy or evening light conditions. To a hunter, it all means that you can glass an area for the gleam of an antler or flick of an ear, or accurately field-judge a big buck, with confidence.
There’s no better time to hunt whitetail deer than when bucks are on the move and looking for trouble. Check out the gear highlighted here; then you can hit the woods, fields and swamps knowing you’re well equipped and well prepared.
This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s