Whitetail Deer: Hunting During the Rut and Strategies for Habitat
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As long as you perform efficient scouting, proper stand setup, and hunting practices, you can be highly successful at hunting the whitetail during the annual rut. Once you get things setup during the rut, you need to determine the most ideal days for you to hunt, then it is time to get out in the woods and get ready. Because, after all, the deer are going to be ready, but are you?
Setting Up the Whitetail Rut
You need to first be able to recognize that the family groups of doe will sleep next to food sources, and bucks will sleep behind the does—opposite of the food source. As a general rule, the older the buck, the more space it will put between him and the food source as well as into the cover.
Stand Locations for the Rut
Once you have identified the location of the food and bedding, you need to identify the location of your stand and get it setup. Ideally, you should have more than one stand location. One is hardly ever enough to ensure that all the rutting areas are properly covered. For instance, you should assemble a stand near morning sleeping areas, evening food source movements, as well as mid-day travel corridor between habitats.
Hunting Practices During the Rut
During the rut, you don’t necessarily have to worry about bleat calls, deer lures, grunt tubes, rattling antlers, and scent elimination—you can, but they aren’t the most important things. Instead, you should focus more on quiet gear and clothing, appropriately located stand locations, quiet stand locations, as well as zero-impact entrance routes between stand locations.
The best option when it comes to hunting during the rut is and always will be hunting smart and quiet. You want to think and act like a predator yourself, as this is what is going to help you tag those whitetails during this time of year.
Forecasting the Rut Hunt
Once the temperatures drop over 10 degrees, the winds stop blowing, and the weather elements are eliminated, you are going to want to make sure to get out there. Some say to concentrate on the barometric pressure or moon, but this isn’t really necessary; if there is a quality deerfront passing by or a break in the deerfront, get to your treestand because there will be bucks ready for the taking.
Chance for Opportunity
Over the course of 24 hours, deer tend to eat about five times. If deer miss feedings because of intense deerfront weather patterns, their movements during the day will increase in order to find food. Though weather doesn’t necessarily dictate when female deer will enter estrus, colder days with decreased wind patterns and no extreme weather can cause a normal nocturnal mature buck to walk the daylight hours.
Things get tricky during the rut, so it will take more than simply sitting in your stand for several days in a row and hoping a deer will strut by, though this can prove to be successful for some people and in some cases. However, if you take the time to get things setup, create the right stand locations throughout the day, and recognize proper hunting practices, you will find success hunting during the rut for years to come.