Hunting the Rut

As hunters, this is the time of year we have all been waiting for.  Depending on where you are in the state, the does may have already had the estrous cycle and the rut is over, for others….it may just now be coming in to full swing.  What makes this time of year great is that there is not much of a pattern to hunt.  Well, thats my opinion at least.  You may ask, well, what do you mean John?  Since the start of bow season we strategize where we are going to hunt, hang stands, plant food plots, and drive our ATV’s based upon a pattern.  We have paid such close attention to detail by studying our game cameras.  We study what time the does are moving, what time bucks are moving, what direction they are coming from, are they still in groups, which way did he leave the field……and the list goes on. Once the does start entering their estrous cycle and begin going into heat, i have one thing on my mind……find the does, because the bucks will not be far behind. Thats literally what i do, i go hunting for does, and I wait.  This is the one time of year when big mature bucks can be flat out dumb.  They have one thing on their mind….and its not eating and sleeping.  Those big bucks that have been showing up on your trail cams between the hours of 9:00 pm – 4:00 am are just as likely to pop out on a road chasing a doe while you are back at the truck eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.  During this 1-2 week period, its important to adapt to the obvious changes.  If you’ve been hunting hardwood bottom and pinch points that forces does and buck to walk through, and all of a sudden things just come to a halt…..dont be afraid to change your setup.  One of my favorite ways to hunt the rut is to try and catch that first real frosty morning and hunt a cutover.  By this time of year, there may not be as many food sources in the woods.  When they are feeding, most of the time is going to be on the move.  They love to hit food plots in the late afternoons, and browse through cutovers.  The deer tend to still feel safe in a clear cut while providing a large field of view for the hunter.  They will eat on small plants and literally lay down in the middle of it out in the sun to try and stay warm.  Hunting a clear cut on a frosty morning during the rut has always been great, there is something special about it.  But come late afternoon, you better be sitting on a field that is flooded with does and be on standby, because the big nocturnal bucks are probably about 50 yards inside that tree line. Get out in the woods and experience what it is like to hunt the rut in the south.

I would love to see some of your deer harvest from the year.  Be sure and visit my Facebook Page,  John Morris Land Guy and post your pictures.