Early Rutcation Forecast
Once again, it’s that glorious time of year when bucks start expanding their home range in search of receptive does. For those of us that save up vacation days to target the rut, I have great news: the jet stream is dipping across much of the US and will continue to do so for the next few weeks. This is due to several blocking high pressure ridges which can be seen below.
What does the jet stream have to do with rut hunting? When the jet stream dips, cold air from the arctic is pushed southward. Check out the 8-14 day temperature outlook for the US:
So, what does that mean for hunting? It means you can expect a normal rut, meaning daylight movement will not be depressed by warm temperatures (which we have experienced in the last couple years). What is doesn’t mean, is that all bucks will be running all over in daylight every day, but certainly some will. It means that bucks will be bucks. They will make scrapes, rubs, and fight. When the peak of the rut hits, they will divert their attention from making signposts to focusing more on chasing does. They will find secluded areas to spend time with does and their mind will be more about reproduction than survival.
Small ditches that barely hold deer during the early season suddenly become places where bucks will cruise looking for does. When they lock down, they will often be in places you wouldn’t think about finding big deer, such as small fence lines and waterways. Setting up in pinch points is an excellent strategy this time of year, as bucks will be moving across the landscape more at this time than at any other time of year. The toughest part about hunting rutting bucks is separating them from their doe. Here is a refresher on what to try when you encounter henned-up bucks.
The whitetail rut is an odd beast, in that, movement can be very much boom or bust, depending on where the receptive does are at any given time. Across much of the US the peak breeding date is November 15th, but the best time to be in the woods are the 2 weeks prior to peak breeding. It’s no secret that over the years, Nov 3rd thru the 12th has been the time when giants tend to slip up and become killable. My favorite day is November 6th, although the 7th is a close second. If you work weekdays, taking 4 days of vacation, you could hunt November 7th thru the 12th which would be ideal for hitting prime time. If you have a limited time to hunt, spending more time in the stand will be your best bet. All day sits can yield fantastic results, but it takes a powerful mental strategy in order to sit thru the middle of the day when there are hours between deer sightings. Good luck out there, and Happy Rutcation everyone!!