If you are a deer hunter with a pulse, you’ve been anxiously waiting the entire year for the rut to be here. There are few feelings that compare to the sight of a mature buck chasing a doe through the whitetail woods. While the rut brings a great deal of excitement to hunters around the country, it also has the potential to bring hunters a great deal of frustration. So, let’s take a look at a few strategies you can use to help make this year’s rut a success.
First and foremost is timing. Whether it was your grandpa or an old timer at the archery shop, we’ve all heard our fair share of hunting myths that aim to explain when rut activity will be at its peak. For example, many hunters in the Midwest, including plenty of us here at TenPoint, believe in the old adage that rut activity peaks two weeks following the Full Moon in October. With the Full Moon of October being the 19th, you’ll be best suited to see some mature bucks from November 2nd through November 16th. Needless to say, you’ll want to be in the woods during peak rut activity in your region.
Once you’ve nailed down your dates to hunt during the rut, stand and blind placement become paramount. As mentioned in our “Hunting the Pre-Rut” article, early season hunting revolves around food sources and catching deer in summer patterns. When the rut rolls around, those days are long gone. You need a strategically placed stand or blind that is in a natural funnel or travel corridor, such as natural benches that are created along hillsides. Bucks are notorious for cruising along these benches in search of a doe, which may present you with the perfect opportunity.
Finally, if you haven’t had much early morning or early evening success, hunting mid-day may be a perfect tactic for you. Countless big bruisers have been harvested in the middle of the afternoon when most hunters typically nap. So sleep in, pack yourself a sandwich and snacks, get in your stand or blind around 9:30 or 10 AM and sit until dark. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much activity you see during this time of day.
While hunters everywhere have their routines and fail-proof strategies for hunting the rut, if you have never tried any of these, maybe this is the year to do so. Remember, you never know what opportunities you will be presented with, so be prepared for that moment of truth and make this year a memorable one!
Image courtesy TenPoint Crossbows