If you are a deer hunter, you likely know what this term means. “The rut” refers to the time of breeding season in which the male is in pursuit of a female partner. In Ohio, this is usually referring to white-tailed deer rut although other hunters across the world will use this term for different species. The rut is a favorite time for many deer hunters because it means that deer, especially bucks, are moving around more periodically. This increases a hunters chances of shooting a deer or what they deem a trophy buck.
During this time, bucks also become very focused on pursuing does. Deer hunters like to use this to their advantage because they know the deer they are pursuing could potentially let their guard down.
The main key to hunting the rut is to put yourself in the line of travel for the deer you are pursuing. If the bucks are in search of does, they have to travel longer distances more often. If you can figure out where the deer are moving, you’re golden. To do this, set up trail cameras along paths the deer may have used last year or along food plots. If you are pursuing a deer you saw last year, remember deer don’t always follow the same pattern year to year.
Keep in mind that the bucks main focus is to pursue a doe or a group of does. So, if you’re always seeing a group of does hanging out in your food plot, set yourself up on a path close to where your seeing the does. Most importantly, use common sense when determining where a deer is likely to travel. If you’re hunting next to a body of water, set-up along side it. Just like humans, deer a fairly good swimmers but would prefer to walk around the water than swim through it. The same situation goes for a steep bank. When in doubt, ask yourself, “Would I rather go around that or through that?”
Hunting a Bait Pile.
Before a big game, a professional athlete makes sure they have a hearty meal, right? The same goes for deer. Because they are constantly moving around and expending calories on pursuing a doe, they have to consume more calories. This can be used to a hunter’s advantage by hunting a food plot or bait pile.
Accessorize Your Hunt.
No, we aren’t talking about breaking into your daughter’s jewelry box. There are a ton of lures and scents out there designed specifically for the rut. Theses lures use the scent of a doe in estrus to trick a buck into thinking a doe is in the area. Using this items and doing your research on them could help pay off.
Don’t Give Up.
Remember that every hunting trip doesn’t always end in success. Many hunters will track a buck for days before they even get a glimpse of it. Stick it out and keep returning to the woods. Reevaluate your plan and when in doubt, do some research on the Internet. That long wait will only make it sweeter in the end.
Still looking for more? Start by checking out this post by WiredtoHunt.com! 2017 RUT PREDICTIONS – AN EARLIER, MORE INTENSE RUT THAN LAST YEAR?
SCD loves to see older and younger generations alike enjoying the outdoors and practicing ethical conservation through hunting! If you haven’t already, try taking a youth hunting with you! There are many youth hunting opportunities and events in our area and there are many aspiring youth hunters out there. Sometimes all they need is for someone to ask if they would like to tag along.
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