The Whitetail Rut is Here

If you are a bowhunter you should have been in your treestand before light. The bucks are on the prowl for does coming into heat. Yes it is early but a few does coming into heat early is all it takes for bucks to go crazy and let their guard down. Calls work, rattling works, scents work and best of all combinations work. For every day that gets closer to the Rut peak which is somewhere in mid November the bucks are on the prowl for a hot doe in estrus. The breeding drum beats louder with each day closer to the peak.

Deer gather in fields and open areas at night to be seen and smelled by breeding deer. Long before light the bigger bucks will leave the fields/open areas and head back to their bedding areas. Look for scrapes, rubs and trails try to build a travel corridor from what you see from suspected bedding areas to feeding areas. The best tree stands are going to be in the woods and away from the fields.

A mistake of early detection by big bucks will cost you. You will likely never see that buck again in daylight. Lesser bucks yes, does yes. Mature bucks no! A mature buck did not become mature by making mistakes. There are many mature bucks that live and die that you will never see because they are never in daylight walking around.

Most mistakes deal with your body odor or your stand placement and your foot/boot odor on a deer trail. Spray your boots every time you enter the woods and keep your hunting boots away from pets and the kitchen odors. Spray your clothes each time you enter the woods. Keep your scent at minimum each time and every time you hunt if you want to maximize your chances of a bow shot. I have made all the mistakes and still do, though I try. Breaking twigs under foot can undo your efforts as well so approach your tree stand as if there is a deer near it. Make as little noise as possible. Be aware that deer do look up if they have been hunted before from tree stands. I had a big buck in Pennsylvania that spotted me every time no matter what I did. I had one chance early on, where he chased a doe under my stand but there was so much brush over his head that I could not shoot for fear of arrow deflection or worse a wounded deer. I let him go. What a buck!

If you are scouting for rifle season or Muzzleloader stay away from tree stands of other hunters. Give them the respect that you would want if the roles were reversed. By staying away from these stands you also keep scent away from them.

Crossing trails with other hunters on the ground in the deer woods during gun season gives me an opportunity to greet your fellow hunter see if they are alone or with others. Occasionally, you might get a response that they jumped a deer on the way in or some tidbit that gives you a hunting edge. Let’s be respectful of our hunting brethren and sisters too. Good Hunting! © 2013

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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.