Everyone waits for the highly anticipated rut.
Rut Trigger – Rut in many species is triggered by shorter day lengths. Suspicions state white tailed deer rut is controlled by the lunar phase and that the rut peaks seven days after the second full moon (the rutting moon) after the autumnal equinox on 21 September.
Estrus – A recurring period of sexual receptivity and fertility in many female mammals; heat. A white tail doe may be in estrus for up to 72 hours, and may come into estrus up to seven times if she does not mate.
Now that the verbiage is out of the way, it’s time to explain what I’m talking about. The rut happens like clockwork every year. As I talked about bow season yesterday with a few colleagues we talked about the weather. This week, it’s windy and cooler but next week is above average for temps. The warmer temp’s means the deer won’t run. They are like myself really if it’s hot out and the sun is shining I want to be laying out enjoying it. They will do the same. When the cooler weather hits they wake earlier to eat, run, and warm up their bodies from the past night’s sleep.
The rut changes that. In the end it doesn’t matter. The buck is able to tell if a doe is in heat and he will move faster, more sporadic, and go on a chase. The rut is not weather dependent. It is only dependent on the doe’s body and when it enters estrus.
If you happen to live in any white tail deer hunting state and receive some form of a hunting magazine, you will come across a rut article. They happen yearly, without fail. Some give tips on how to hunt the rut, here and here. Others give tips on how to predict when the rut will occur, here and here. In the end the best advice I can provide is be cognizant of your wind and weather. The bucks are highly aware of scents and anything off, like a hit of Old Spice deodorant or even my Averno face lotion, will spook them away from your area. The other advice, which is more common sense, stay on top of the doe trails. Make sure your stand, blind, or sitting location is in a highly populated doe area. This is touched on in this past post, for stand location. The trails around your area should be well worn and fresh. Also be on the lookout for tree rubs and scrapings. In the end the bigger and longer the tree rub the better the bucks are in your area.
If you hunt in a group, like I do during the day after we’re done sitting, you may want to push and walk the woods. This can be a great way to get those big bucks running. As deer age they, as everyone does, gain more knowledge. Older bucks are smart enough to lay low, not jump, or to circle back. They also are the last to leave the woods. What happens during the rut is they will jump and chase after the fleeing doe. This is because this is the main reason they are in that section of the woods. Like any guy trying to pick up a girl, the buck doesn’t want to get too close too soon and scare the doe away. So bucks, during the push, will hold back but they will in the end follow the doe out of the woods.
Whether you are out during the 1st rut in early November or the 2nd rut later in the season, make sure that you know your bedding areas, weather for the day, and be prepared for running deer! Don’t take your shot too early and definitely keep your eyes peeled at the back of the pack. There could be a boomer waiting!