What do we want? R.U.T. RUT!

Everyone waits for the highly anticipated rut.

Rut – The mating season of ruminant animals such as deersheepcamelgoatspronghorn and Asian and African antelope.

Rutting Period – Males often rub their antlers or horns on trees or shrubs, fight with each other, wallow in mud or dust, self-anoint and herd estrus females together.

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!

Hunting {Fishing} Photo Friday

My dad is currently in the Florida fishing in the Gulf and brackish waterways. So I wanted to share my fishing photos from when I went out with him in February last year with Steve at Paradise Fishing Charters.

My dad and I on Steve's boat

My dad and I on Steve’s boat

My large catch. We caught it that at the same exact time, thought lines were stuck. Out of season so couldn't keep it.

My large catch. We caught it that at the same exact time, thought lines were stuck. Out of season so couldn’t keep it.

Grouper

Grouper

Red Snapper..the catch of the day

Red Snapper..the catch of the day

Total catch for the day

Total catch for the day

The big blue fin I caugt

The big blue fin I caught

Dolphins on our way back in

Yes, these are for me.

This past Sunday I got a phone from my dad, followed by one from my mom since I didn’t hear the phone ring.  Dick’s Sporting Goods was having a huge sale on our ammo of choice. The Hornaday SST Slug typically retails for $12-$13 and it was on sale for $9.  This sale happens every year about this time so I told my dad yes, of course I would go and I would get him 3 boxes and myself 3 boxes.  In the afternoon I headed out, hoping they still had stocked shelves, and I texted my brother asking if he wanted any as well. So I grabbed him two.

While wandering the hunting section I remembered I needed mechanical non rubber banded broadheads. Being a total newb when it comes to crossbows and bow hunting season I didn’t want to spend a lot but I wanted something decent. I chose a 3-pack of the Rage 2-bladed crossbow mechanical broadheads. Of course on the aisle end of the broadheads is the shoulder straps. I figured this would be a nice investment, so the Mossy Oak sling went into my hands as well.

The last thing I knew I needed was lightweight gloves. I didn’t need anything fancy just something lightweight with grip to do the job since I can’t load my arrow with my bulky gloves on.  I ended up choosing the Lodge Outfitters brand, based on price and feel.

Now I could not find a basket to save my life and as I’m walking to the register and stop in the running gear and decide my hands are full enough so I decline.

At the front there was only one checkout lane open and I was 3rd in line. Soon after, a return and a large group of people joined me in the checkout area. Everyone glanced and checked out my hands filled with ammo, straps, broadheads and gloves.  There was a group of foreigners who I saw in the ammo section giving me curious stares. As well as an older gentleman and his father that watched me from the store til I got into my car.

The kicker was when I checked out. The first time, no questions no concerns no comments. The second time, because the terminal froze, I was asked, “Is this was all for me?”, Do you really hunt?” and “Is this for your husband?”  I’m used comments, but every time it’s like dude wake up. Yes, these are mine and yes I hunt.  Maybe it’s because I am younger, or how I dressed that day, I do try to be fashionable. but I have been in a hunting environment my entire life.

The topic of women hunters came up at work a few days ago. There are more women hunters now than there ever have been. Most of this is because the guys end up getting their wives or girlfriends involved in the sport. The women tend to go a long with it because they don’t like loosing their men for a month+.  I know my husband loses me every weekend from the 3rd Saturday in November until the 3rd Saturday in December. It’s been going on for 12 years and is nothing new.  Now I’m not knocking women who join the sport for that reason I just hope that they enjoy it. I love hunting with my sister-in-law and her sister when they go out. My cousins fiance will be in our group this year too and I’m thrilled. I’m not the only girl now!

I just with that the population, in and out of stores, will stop giving you the “You’re not really a hunter are you” glare because it’s time they know the truth.

I can shoot better than they do!

Tree Stand Safety…PSA

October 15th marks the opening of  buck season for the Genesee county hunters. Specifically my family.  As most of the hunting population will be out we all want to consider tree stand safety. Multiple times a year we hear on the local news of hunters who have fallen, bruises, broken and in worst case died. So what does this mean. That means in layman’s terms we need to stop being rushed morons who fall out of trees. We’re not monkeys, climbing trees is a second nature to us and we need to be safe about it.

When I was 18 or 19, how that now feels like forever ago, I slipped. It was raining.  I was lucky that my shotgun was slung over my shoulder, safety on and that it was only three rungs. Three rungs of a wooden stand that was built by my dad means roughly 3.5 feet, thanks dad. So what did I learn? Get better boots!

Always climb with either the gun slung safely across my back, safety on. Or, in cases of extreme ladders tie your gun to a pull rope and pull it to the top when you are safely seated.

Since this is my first year with a cross bow I knew that carrying it up and down our ladder stands was going to be a bit tricky.  I wanted to check out the typical safety precautions.

  • If hunting from a tree stand, always cock the crossbow on the ground before climbing into the stand.
  • Once seated and secured in the tree stand, pull up your unloaded crossbow with a haul line.
  • Do not place an arrow on the crossbow until you are safely secured in your stand.

Until I actually get into a stand I won’t be able to fully comment on the stated safety guidelines.

One last thing, since Genesee county allows rifle shooting this shotgun season. Make sure that you practice shooting your rifle on the ground first, siting it in, and getting used to the weight, recoil and reload. This is one thing that I have fully done. My rifle this year, when hunting in the stands will be a .243 that was my dads.  It has a modified butt, better suited for my shoulders and jaw line.  It also has a recoil that I can handle. Now if you put me in the stand with my brothers 30-06.  While I can handle the recoil, the weight, and the gun itself, I will more than likely be knocked back into tree or out of the tree in a worst case scenario.  I know that standing on the ground I can brace myself to hold the kick but in a tree my base is compromised and in the end I don’t trust myself unless strapped in.

The end of this PSA is that you should trust your gut, follow the safety guidelines if you’re unsure and don’t go into unsafe conditions. Wet, dry, windy. Always make sure no matter what type of equipment you’re using this hunting season always use a safety strap.

So be safe out there and if you’re hunting in Genesee county good luck and bag a boomer.

Food Plots Done Right

Now that the season has begun have you had any success?  Did this success happen because of food plot preparations? If you’re new to food plots this year,the first thing to think about is what to plant.  There are many experts out there on what will draw whitetail deer into your area.  Being a farmer. access to grains and seeds are readily available. However, what is desirable to livestock is not always desirable to deer.  Clover, alfalfa, radish and chicory are the more popular and easily accessible plotting crops.  One of the main things that drives most people’s food plot purchase is the price.  In this case though, the price should not be an issue. With food plot seedlings you will get what you pay for and not all seedlings are created equally. Another thing is you don’t want to put all of your eggs into one basket, so to speak, and create a monoplot.  A diverse type of seedlings in a single plot will help create a larger drawing of deer to the area.

Next thing to think about is location.  Since the this is probably a new plot take a look at what is currently planted on the land.  Is it growing, healthy, and vibrant? If not then find a new spot. You need to have a successful area of land in order to have a successful food plot.  Now that you’ve found a good patch of dirt, does it get sun and shade? It is protected from the wind or out in the open? Is there water nearby? Is it on the right side of the woods that doesn’t typically get high winds? These are all things you need to take into consideration.  Can you see the plot from your stand or blind? If not then you need to reconsider.  The plot location doesn’t need to be directly on top of where you will be sitting during hunting season but it needs to be in shooting range.  Preferable along a deer path; somewhere whitetail deer will be driven to walk by you to get to and from the plotted area.

You have what you want to plant. You have where you want to plant.  Now you need to plant. For a late fall crop the field work should be completed by the beginning of July.  This will give you a flush season once October hits and opening day hits.

Now we have some pretty nice plots on our land but what and where they are, that is a family secret.

Weekend Recap

This past weekend was the first full weekend of bow season for the whitetail deer. So I know I’m slacking getting my butt in gear for final siting of my guns and crossbow in.  Plus with it cold and windy out on Saturday I really wanted to snuggle inside with a cappuccino and some movies. I chose to walk out my parents door though. We had family photos on the farm and I was out there anyway; figured better just get it over with.

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I shot at 23 yards and 35 yards to get my drop distance. My grouping was spot on. A dead deer no matter what. My handling was great and my loading was ok. I need smaller thin gloves to work the arrows properly.

In case you were curious I  called myself a “basic b*tch” in my last photo. There is a “how basic are you” test out there for women for fqll. It talks about plaid, flannel, hats, army coats and of course the PSL. This photo epitomized the “basic” hunting women and I got a kick out of it.

Sorry for the side track.  I hope you all had a great weekend and of you’re hunting you got one! I know our country so far is 1 doe.