October 14, 2015
Nothing conjures up more excitement for a bowhunter than that magical time we all know as the whitetail deer rut. From the time rubs and scrapes start to appear to when bucks are in full chase mode, the whitetail rut can offer plenty of adrenaline filled moments. Although, few times of year conjure up more fables of what will work and what won't work for the bowhunter.
To make the most of your time spent afield, and ultimately fill your tag, consider the following whitetail rut tips that have actually been proven to work.
Hunt Where The Does Sleep
It's no secret what a buck really wants during the whitetail rut. If you want to be successful you've got to find what he is looking for. Essentially, this means locating a group of does and where they like to bed down during daylight hours. Such information will lead to killer stand locations for morning hunts.
After hanging your stand, all that will be left to do is sit back and let the does do the work for you. Sooner or later a buck is going to show up, and when he does, it's game over.
If you can pre-hang a stand before the whitetail deer rut and sneak in quietly without alerting deer to your presence, your odds of success go up. If you can't pre-hang stands, then be sure to use the quietest climber you can find. Stealth is key when hunting near bedding areas.
Hunt All-Day During the Whitetail Rut
During the whitetail rut, a buck is constantly on his feet and on the move. That means if you aren't in the woods every moment possible, you just might miss your chance at the buck of your dreams. Look for terrain funnels between doe bedding and feeding areas as cruising bucks will be actively seeking estrus does.
Plan to hunt all-day as often as you can; especially during the "chase" phase. Also, if you are hunting on public land, consider that deer will increase activity after the majority of hunters have left the woods for a mid-day snack.
Don't Neglect Food
While breeding might be the motivating factor for a buck during the whitetail deer rut, the does are still motivated by their stomachs. Stands hung near food sources for evening hunts can pay off big-time as bucks make themselves more visible while searching for that receptive doe.
Other than the early season, this might be the best time to see that big buck in the wide open with his guard down.
One of the cool things about the whitetail deer rut is that any buck can show up at any time. However, don't make the mistake of staying in one place too long waiting for your luck to turn around. It pays to have a system that allows you to be mobile and hunt different areas at the drop of a hat.
Being mobile means having more than one spot set aside for the rut. Choose a treestand that allows you to move quickly and quietly in order to keep up with changes in travel patterns, phases of the whitetail rut, availability of food and, of course, hunting pressure.
During the whitetail deer rut, a buck will use every available resource he has to find a hot doe. This includes his eyes, ears and especially his nose. Your gear bag should reflect that and include items geared toward at least two of the three resources.
Scent trails, doe bleats, aggressive buck grunts, rattling and snort wheezes can sometimes bring a love-struck buck in on a rope. Of course, decoys are down-right deadly when combined with all of the above.
The whitetail rut can be a great time to bag that buck of your dreams. Still, the hunter who has a plan and certain strategies in his bag of tricks is often the one who fills his tag.