Every landowner wants to make their property the place whitetail deer want to be during the rut.
In order to make deer want to rut on your property, you have to supply the perfect landscape elements for early season deer tactics. Here’s how to build your property into the perfect rut hangout in five easy steps.
1 Serve Fine Food
Carefully placed whitetail food plots and well-managed fruit-bearing trees, such as chestnuts, oaks, apples and pears, provide a perfect setting for bucks and does to meet.
2 Provide A Good Drink
And what is a good dinner without a fine drink? Strategically located ponds or artificial water sources will keep deer from moving off of your land to find water.
3 Make A Safe Haven
Setting aside a sanctuary adjacent to a food source will draw and hold more deer on your property as hunting pressure increases on surrounding properties.
4 Set The Stage
“Softening” an edge between your sanctuary or travel corridor by encouraging brushy (soft) edges (about 30 feet wide) will provide “staging areas,” where bucks can intercept does coming to feed. It is the social center for the rut “dance.”
5 Connect The Dots
Travel corridors need to connect social centers and sanctuaries. Develop existing strips of conifers along drainages, or plant them to provide protection for deer that naturally want to avoid crossing fields and large openings.
Did You Know?
Late season bucks use a mixture of frontal gland and tarsal gland scents to influence the behavior of both does and other bucks. And the smell is clearly intimidating to younger bucks. There may be as many as 100 species of bacteria living in the hairs of the tarsal gland that change ordinary urine into smelly rut chemicals.
- You want to allow current—and local—conditions to dictate how you hunt. The problem here is ascertaining what stage of the reproductive period is actually taking place concerning your local whitetails. It’s not uncommon for sportsmen in the same county to be witnessing entirely different buck behavior.
All deer activity is local, just as is such highly relevant factors as buck-to-doe ratio, weather conditions and existing hunting pressure. Yes, I know that moon phases and photoperiods play a crucial role in the rut. However, knowing what is going on locally on your 40-, 400- or 4,000-acre tract is often more important than just about anything else.
In any given county in any given state—because of various local factors—the bucks may be in the pre-rut phase and chasing, actively mating, or in the final phases of the rut. The only way to know for sure is to go afield as often as and as long as you can day after day.