The Rut

November 27, 2017
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The Rut
The sight of frost on the grass when you walk outside in the morning is the most pleasing thing to a deer hunter. Any experienced hunter knows that when the weather starts the get cold , the whitetail bucks convert to diurnal instead of nocturnal. The reason the deer start moving around more in the day is because the doe are starting to come into heat, and the males just can not help themselves. The is the joys of hunting whitetail in the winter time!

Pre-Rut
The pre-rut phase usually comes in the middle of October. In this time, whitetail bucks become much more active during daylight hours. The bucks start to mark their territory by creating scrapes, rubs, and looking for the first doe to come into heat after the first cold snap of the year. The best way to kill a mature buck in this phase of the rut is to set up a bow stand facing the north and have an active scrape or rub about fifteen to thirty-five yards away. The distance plays a key role in this because ninety percent of the time it is bow season in this phase and the maximum shot with a bow is about forty yards.

Main Rut
The main rut phase is the most exciting time to be in the woods for a hunter because this is when all of the bucks from 1 year old to 13 year of age are moving at any given time of the day or night. The bucks usually have a grazing range that like to stay in, but when this phase kicks in, their range usually doubles in size. The only downfall of this phase it that there is usually a day or two that hunters call the lock-down phase, and what that means is that you don’t see very much deer activity period due to the bucks following the doe into bedding areas to mate. Luckily, this inner phase doesn't last but about one day until the bucks are back on the chase to find another doe that is in heat and ready to mate as well.

Post-Rut
The post-rut phase starts right after the lock-down phase, which was mentioned in the last paragraph.The first part of the post-rut can be as action packed as the pre-rut and main-rut. Now, the bucks are just trying to find late cycling does, because nothing drives a mature buck more than the chance to pass on his genetics to the next generation of whitetails. The activity usually starts to gradually slow down, and the majority of the bucks go back to their normal nocturnal activities. Consequently, their range of movement goes back down to about three miles instead of six. The weather will determine how long this phase lasts, because if the weather is bad, the bucks will go back to looking for food, but if the weather is good, the phase might last until the doe start to cycle again.

Second Rut
This time period is usually in early December and can last all the way to the middle of the month. Hunting for a mature buck during this time is a lot more difficult, because buck activity has crawled to a halt. The majority of the doe have been bred by now, and the bucks are more worried about finding food. There is still a slight chance that there is a doe in the area that hasn't been breed yet, and the bucks will make the mistake of going after her at a chance to breed one last time. Mature doe that were not bred during their first cycle come back into heat 28 days later, and this could mean good luck if that doe happens to be close to you. Good tactics to use are bed-to-feed buck patterns which mean to catch the mater deer leaving the bedding area going to a heavy food, or water source. If you had no clue how to harvest a mature buck before reading this passage, you should have a pretty good idea now.





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